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I have a shrub that came with this house, and it is about 7ft tall and 3ft wide. It grows white flowers at the summers-fall, and is drought-tolerant. It grows in North Carolina, United States. It has small 1/2 inch flowers that are maybe white or yellow. The flowers come in the fall, are fragrant and don't produce berries. Front shrub

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This looks to me like Osmanthus fragrans , sweet/tea olive bush. https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/tea-olive/

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Looks like a Ligustrum variety, commonly known as privet, possibly japanese privet, Ligustrum japonicum. These bear fragrant (some people would say unpleasant smelling) white sprays/panicles of small flowers in late summer or fall, sometimes followed by berries, so it rather depends on whether that flower description fits the flowers you see. https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/77548/Ligustrum-japonicum/Details

There are other varieties of privet, but japanese privet tends to have slightly thicker, waxier leaves than the other varieties, like the leaves in your photo appear to have.

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Looks like a rhododendron to me, they grow all over NC. If the leaves are thicker/stiffer/tougher than most tree leaves I would be almost positive. To me, the leaves feel fake, like they are polyester.

It's a great plant, one of my favorites. When I was backpacking the Smokies they grew ubiquitously in the valleys. Enjoy it and don't be afraid to trim it or beat it into submission; it can take it, and if left unchecked could get too big for that space.

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  • You shouldn't generalize about the size of the shrub - there are many rhododendron cultivars, and many remain small enough to fit into the space shown in the photos. For example, the PJM cultivar is usually about 4 feet x 4 feet in height and width. Other cultivars are more columnar. Saying that the plant will, if left unchecked "get too big for that space" is not good advice without knowing the actual cultivar.
    – Jurp
    Jul 20 at 14:32
  • @Jurp fair enough. The white flowering ones i've seen in the past seemed bigger than some of the fancy/more decorative ones, but anecdotes are not 100% by any means; good call. That said, I think it's already borderline too big as it's about tall enough to shadow the garage lighting...
    – dandavis
    Jul 20 at 16:37
  • The description of flowers as small, 1/2 inch makes me think it's not a rhododendron.
    – loppers
    Jul 22 at 2:45

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