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Products > Pittosporum tobira
Pittosporum tobira - Mock Orange

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Pittosporum tobira
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Pittosporaceae (Pittosporums)
Origin: China (Asia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Creamy White
Bloomtime: Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 12-16 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Pittosporum tobira (Mock Orange) - A dense, mounding evergreen shrub that grows to 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide. The spring-blooming creamy-white flowers have a similar fragrance as orange blossoms and green berries that mature to brown with orange seeds follow the bloom.

Plant in full sun to shade and irrigate occasionally to regularly - as with most Pittosporum this plant is relatively drought tolerant in coastal California gardens once established but looks best with an occasional deep watering. Hardy to at least 15 F. A very adaptable shrub that will tolerate seaside conditions, inland heat and alkaline soils.

Pittosporum tobira is native to Japan, the Ryukyu Islands and China. It was one of the first of the Pittosporum to be collected by the German naturalist Engelbert Kaemfer in the late 1600s and he illustrated and described it in 1712 using the Japanese name "tobera" but this was changed to tobira when Carl Peter Thunberg described it in 1784 as Euonymous tobira and then Pittosporum tobira when Carl Ludwig Willdenow reclassified it as a Pittosproum in 1797. 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. The specific epithet comes from a translation of the Japanese common name. Often just called Tobira or Mock Orange (a name shared with many other plants) but also commonly called Japanese Cheesewood or Japanese Pittosporum.

Pittosporum tobira has been in cultivation in California since first being introduced in 1858 by Colonel J.L.L. Warren. Often called "Colonel Warren" or "Alphabet Warren", he was an early British immigrant who came to Sacramento in 1849 and operated a seed and agricultural implement business there. Warren also founded the California Farmer magazine in 1854 and later managed and funded the first California State Fair. A tree in Orange, California is registered as a Pittosporum tobira 'Variegata as well the very attractive Pittosporum 'Oakleaf', which maybe a selection of Pittosporum tobira or a hybrid. This species was awarded the prestigious Royal Horticulture Award of Garden Merit in 1993. 

This information about Pittosporum tobira 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.