Pittosporum tenuifolium (Kohuhu) - A fast growing dense evergreen upright shrub or small tree that grows to 20 to 30 feet tall. It has glossy medium green oval slightly undulating leaves that are held on dark, nearly black, new stems and dark fragrant purple flowers held in small clusters in the spring that are followed by small orange fruit.
Plant in full coastal sun or part shade, with occasional watering. Seaside tolerant. Hardy to 15-20 ° F. An attractive tall hedge or screening plant that does particularly well in cooler coastal gardens.
Pittosporum tenuifolium is native to both islands of New Zealand where it is common in the lower mountain forests from sea level up to nearly 3,000 feet. The name Pittosporum comes from the Greek words 'pitta' meaning "pitch" and 'spora' meaning "seed" in reference to the sticky seeds of many members of the genus. The specific epithet tenuifolia is from the Latin words 'tenu' meaning "slender" and 'foli' meaning "leaves" in reference to the slenderer leaves of this species. This plant was first introduced in San Francisco (as P. nigra) by sea captain James Walsh (spelled in some sources as Welsh or Welch), who returned from a trip to Australia and New Zealand (and possibly Japan) in 1865 with many plants that have been in cultivation in California ever since.
We have continuously grown this plant since 1981 and in 2020 introduced a seedling hybrid of it that we named Pittosporum 'Green Geno'.
Information about Pittosporum tenuifolium displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.