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Genus Pittosporum Family Pittosporaceae

Synonyms: Citriobatus APNI*

Description: Trees or erect high shrubs, pubescent or glabrous, occasionally the smaller branches spiny.

Leaves alternate, sometimes appearing whorled, linear to lanceolate or obovate, margins entire and sometimes undulate or rarely toothed; petiolate.

Flowers terminal or axillary, pedicellate, solitary or in few- to many-flowered cymes, corymbs, racemes, panicles or clusters. Sepals free. Petals linear or oblanceolate, white to yellow, usually fused over part of their length to form a tube, the apices spreading or recurved, or sometimes free to the base. Stamens free; anthers ovate or oblong, shorter than the filaments. Ovary almost sessile, hairy or glabrous, incompletely 2-locular, style short.

Fruit a capsule, 1-locular, ovoid to globose or obovoid, often ± compressed, initially somewhat fleshy and often resinous, dehiscing loculicidally; valves 2–5, hard, remaining fused at base, bearing the placentas along their centre; seeds often angular, not winged, immersed in a resinous viscid fluid.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 150 species, western Pacific, Hawaiian Is, Australia, southern Asia, Africa. Australia: 11 species (9 species endemic), all States.

Several species are cultivated as ornamentals.

Text by R. O. Makinson
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Pittosporum eugenioides,    Pittosporum ralphii

 Key to the species 
1Short shoots present; adult leaves clustered or alternate, usually not whorled at end of branches2
Short shoots absent; adult leaves usually appearing whorled at end of branches9
2Short shoots spinescent in most developmental stages; stems usually scabrid; fruit indehiscent (dehiscent in Pittosporum oreillyanum)3
Short shoots never spinescent; stems ridged and generally glabrescent, never scabrid; fruit dehiscent, always 2- or 3-valved
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7
3Flowers with petals pale orange on inner surface and maroon on outer surface; leaves with lamina c. 6 mm longPittosporum oreillyanum
Flowers cream-coloured; leaves with lamina greater than 8 mm long
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4
4Leaves almost orbicular; margin angular-dentate; petals hairy on inner surface; fruit orangePittosporum multiflorum
Leaves elliptic or obovate; margin lacking angular teeth; petals glabrous; fruit green, maturing to black-brown
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5
5Leaves alternate, not stem claspingPittosporum lancifolium
Leaves mainly clustered in groups of 3 or more, stem clasping
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6
6Leaves 8–15 mm long; fruit to 25 mm diameter, thick-walledPittosporum spinescens
Leaves 20–25 mm long; fruit less than 10 mm diameter, thin-walled
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Pittosporum viscidum
7Sepals with distinctive woolly fringe of hairs; flowers held below leaves on long, pendant stalks; fruit 3-valvedPittosporum erioloma
Sepals without woolly hairs; flowers held amongst leaves; fruit usually 2-valved
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8
8Leaves oblong or linear to narrowly elliptic, falcate, glabrous; petiole c. 10 mm longPittosporum angustifolium
Leaves narrowly ovate to narrowly oblong, not falcate, abaxial surface densely hairy; petiole 2–3 mm long
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Pittosporum bicolor
9Fruit with thick woody, often warty valves; valves >2 mm thick; shrub to c. 3 m highPittosporum revolutum
Fruit leathery, not woody nor warty; valves c. 1–2 mm thick; tall shrub or tree to 15 m high
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10
10Leaf margin undulate, occasionally flat; lamina ovate or elliptic to narrowly obovate, 6–15 cm long, 1.5–4 cm wide, glabrous, with apex acute to acuminate; petals white to cream-colouredPittosporum undulatum
Leaf margin flat, slightly revolute; lamina obovate to narrowly so, (3-)4–7(-9) cm long, 1.3–2(-2.5) cm wide, abaxial surface pale green with whitish hairs, with apex bluntly acute to obtuse; petals purplish red
                       Back to 9
Pittosporum crassifolium

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