Approximately 150 species and many named cultivars of evergreen trees and shrubs.
They have glossy, undivided leaves. Flowers are sometimes scented, and often colourful.
Fruits are often colourful berries, which make an attractive display, and attract birds.
There are cultivars to suit most temperate and sub tropical climates.
Pittosporums occur naturally in both deserts & rain forests. Some make excellent hedging or screening plant.
Some of the variegated types are widely grown for their foliage.
Most grow in either full sun or light shade and will do well in any average soil; as long as it isn’t waterlogged. Growth can be sporadic. They are generally very hardy once established. Pruning is not usually needed, except for shaping, although many can be readily shaped. Watering, feeding and mulching periodically will keep these plants healthier and looking better. Some are prone to attack from scale, and aphids. Leaf spots or stem rots are the most likely of very few disease problems.
Many are readily grown from seed. Named cultivars are usually propagated by leafy cuttings taken as terminal buds swell, before bursting, regardless of the time of year. And treated with hormone, and placed under mist, with bottom heat. They can be slow to strike at times.
P. bicolor - A shrub or tree 3‑10m tall, grey bark, yellow flowers with red markings, from South East Australia.
P. crassifolium (Karo) - Grows to 3m tall, leaves are oval shaped, thick, darker green on top and soft felt-like underneath. New growth is whitish and felt like; dark red flowers with yellow-tipped filaments. A variegated form with grey-green and white coloured foliage, is more commonly grown than the typical species.
P. eugenioides (Lemon wood) - A tree to 5m tall, from a wide range of climates across both islands of New Zealand. Foliage is a glossy light green, flowers yellow, and yellowish fruits that eventually turn black. Many named varieties are available; usually 2-4m tall or shorter, and with variations in foliage colour (eg. Golden or white variegated foliage, etc).
P. moluccanum - Grows to 4m tall, glossy green leaves, cream flowers, orange fruits, from Northern Australia.
P. phillyreoides - A weeping upright tree to 6m tall, with open foliage, scented cream flowers in summer, orange fruits in autumn; and is drought tolerant.
P. revolutum (Wild Yellow Jasmine) - Shrub or tree to 6m tall, with yellow flowers, green fruits that change colour to brown, occurring naturally from the Northern Territory to Victoria.
P. rubiginosum (Rusty Pittosporum) - Tree to 5m tall, with pale green foliage, yellow to cream flowers.
P. tenuifolium (Kohuhu) - To 5m tall and 3m diameter, black bark and bright green leaves that have a crinkled appearance. Sweetly fragrant flowers are bright purple when they burst open, but fade to black. There are many named cultivars grown, varying mainly in height and foliage colour. Some are small trees, others are shrubs as low as 1m or less.
P. tobira -to 5.5m tall, fragrant white flowers in summer; there is also a lower growing form called P. tobira nana.