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The pittosporums are one of our most valuable garden trees. From the fragrant spring flowers of the lemonwood to the coastal toughy, karo, and the colourful foliage of 'Tom Thumb' there is a pittosprum for every garden.

Pittosporum crassifolium or Karo

Karo is a good coastal small tree or shrub to 6m (18ft) with dark green leaves. The small, deep wine-coloured flowers are hidden in the foliage and appear in spring.
Cultivation Very hardy in exposed coastal conditions, karo is quite frost tender
Propagation Seed, Cuttings

Lemonwood, Pittosporum eugenioides

Pittosporum eugenioides
Lemonwood, Tarata

The Lemonwood is a small tree with light green wavy-margined leaves, growing quite quickly to a 5.0-10.0m (16-33ft). In spring masses of sweet scent creamy-yellow flowers held in clusters appear. Graceful form, foliage and the flowers each spring make this a valauable addition to the garden. There is a variegated form, 'Variegatum', with creamy leaf margins.
Cultivation Most soils and water until established, dislikes dry conditions. Frost tender when young, good on the coast as well inland where it can be protected when young, as it will withstand only light frost until 2m or more.
Propagation Seed


Pittosporum tenufolium

Pittosporum tenufolium

A very tough small tree with reddish twiggy stems carrying small, bright mid-green leaves with typical wavy margins. Essential for establishing shelter, this tree has a pyramid shape when young, becoming rounded headed as it matures. Examination in spring will find insignificant dark red flowers that are followed by clusters of berries. There are many forms of this valuable plant, variegated, purple-leaved and more. As variegated plants are less robust, the species should be selcted for shelter and for harsh positions.
Cultivation Most soils, water until established as dislikes very dry conditions. Good in coastal and inland gardens. Avoid very heavy soils in wet climates.
Propagation Seed

Pittosporum tenufolium 'Wendell Channon'

Pittosporum tenufolium 'Wendell Channon'

Growing to around 1.5m (5ft) with dainty white margined leaves, not as frost hardy as its rugged parent

Pittosporum tenufolium 'Irene Paterson'

Pittosporum tenufolium 'Irene Paterson'

Pale leaves splashed with cream, slow growing to around 2.0-3.0m (6-10ft), not as hardy as its rugged parent

Pittosporum tenufolium 'Tom Thumb'

Pittosporum tenufolium 'Tom Thumb'

A dwarf form with bright red-purple foliage, growing to only 0.75m (2.5ft), not as hardy as its rugged parent

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Last revised 06 Mar '03