Winter Bees, Mystery Shrub


For about a week now, whenever we step out our front door into our little porch alcove, we have been overwhelmed with a beautiful flowery scent.  We figured out quite quickly that it’s from these rather plain-looking shrubs; there are a number of them clustered around our steps, and somehow their fragrance becomes concentrated around our front door.  It’s awesome.

But I’d like to know what kind of shrub it actually is…  any ideas?  It’s a pretty boring-looking bush from a distance:

Mystery Shrub

with round, black berries:

Mystery Berries

and very tiny, very fragrant white flowers:



I discovered on one of the warmer days here that John and I are not the only ones who love these; they are the Bee Oasis right now.

Bee indulging in Mystery Shrub.




At any rate, I have not had any luck with finding out the shrub’s identity on Google; some near options were Night-Scented Jessamine, but the flowers aren’t quite right and the berries are too round, or Elaeagnus, but the berries are definitely not right….  but I would really like the ID.  Can anybody help?


4 thoughts on “Winter Bees, Mystery Shrub

  1. I was thinking this shrub looks like a sweet boxwood and when google thinks about sweet boxwood, it thinks it might be a Sarcococca confusa. – “Sarcococca is an old-fashioned plant often called Christmas Box or Sweet Box. Evergreen, shiny, and dark green leafed this shrub may be forgotten in dry, deep shade until it flowers in early winter with intensely sweet perfume wafting from the tiniest white flowers. One of my favorites for our Southeastern gardens is Sarcococca confusa, a 3-5’ shrub that often holds the previous year’s glossy black berries with the new blooms.” SO there you go! Google knows!

    Great bee shots too! You can see their fur! Love it!

    • Yup, that is it! Thank you!! I’m going to file it away for the next time I need to plant a shrub someplace.

      I’m glad you like the bee shots; I am not quite sure of them. I took them with my new lens, and while in some ways it was much easier (I could take them at a distance and zoom in, and not disturb the bees) it was also much trickier to keep them in the frame, and harder to re-frame them when they moved around. I’ll get the hang of it, I’m sure, but I wasn’t extremely pleased with them (or perhaps just with the process of taking them) this time.

  2. Denise is right it looks like Sarcococca confusa, I have a bush myself which I adore for the wonderful perfume. What did interest me is that I have my bush in a shady place and I have never seen bees on it. I get lots of bees on other plants but it stays in the shade of a wall in the winter time. The berries have self seeded and I have now another plant so I might try that in a sunnier spot and see if it survives the summer sun. Great photographs.

    • Thanks for the confirmation!

      The bee issue is actually a little strange. The plant I photographed is in the sun in the morning, shade in the afternoon, and seems to be thriving – but that one bright sunny day (on which I took the photos) is the only one I’ve seen bees. They were positively swarming that morning, but haven’t been back since. It’s not one of our bushes (which are in full shade), just one I pass while walking my dog, so I only have momentary times slices to observe it … but it is a little odd.

      Good luck with your second plant! And thanks for dropping by :)

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