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Products > Pittosporum crassifolium
Pittosporum crassifolium - Karo
Image of Pittosporum crassifolium
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Pittosporaceae (Pittosporums)
Origin: New Zealand (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Maroon
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Seaside: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Pittosporum crassifolium (Karo) - An upright evergreen shrub or small tree that typically is seen to 8 to 12 feet but is known to reach as tall as 25 feet by 6 to 10+ feet wide with dark stems holding narrow oblanceolate 2 to 3 inch long grey-green leaves that are lighter below and covered with greyish hairs. The spring-blooming maroon flowers are not outstandingly showy but are interesting and fragrant.

This plant grows well in full sun with infrequent to occasional or regular irrigation, but looks best in inland gardens in part sun with regular watering. It is tolerant of fairly dry conditions and near seaside conditions. A great upright hedging plant along the coast.

Pittosporum crassifolium is found naturally growing around forest margins and along streams in coastal localities of the Kermadec Islands and northern areas of the North Island of New Zealand. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'pitta' meaning "pitch" and 'spora' meaning "seed" in reference to the sticky seeds of many members of the genus and the specific epithet is from the Latin words 'crass' meaning "thick" and 'folia' meaning "leaves" in reference to the leaves of this species, which are thicker than most Pittosporum.

This species was first described in 1833 by the Kew trained English botanist Richard Cunningham and was illustrated in Curtis Botanical Magazine in 1872, but was introduced into California prior to 1871 by Stephen Nolan at his Belle View Nursery in Oakland, California and planted into the Strybing Arboretum in 1899. We have grown the great plant since 1981 and also grow the compact form called Pittosporum crassifolium 'Compacta'

This information about Pittosporum crassifolium displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.