Pittosporum Tenuifolium: All You Need to Know

Pittosporum tenuifolium is a plant that’s worth knowing about. We’ll be looking at its origins, physical characteristics, uses and finally provide some pointers on how to care for it. If you’ve been meaning to grow a Pittosporum Tenuifolium but weren’t sure how to, this article has you covered.

What Is Pittosporum Tenuifolium?

What Is Pittosporum Tenuifolium

Pittosporum tenuifolium is a type of evergreen tree that is generally smaller in size than other evergreen trees. Mature Pittosporum Tenuifolium grows up to around 33 feet in height. The Tenuifolium in its name refers to the thin leaves it possesses. Alternative names for this tree include kōhūhū and black matipo, which are names that originate from its native land of New Zealand.

Where Does It Come From?

The tree, Pittosporum tenuifolium, originates and is primarily found all over New Zealand. You’ll see it almost everywhere in New Zealand outside of the Southern Alps. You can find tree inhabiting coastal lands and forests. They are also used to fence the gardens.

Over time, there have been Pittosporum Tenuifolium spotted in areas of Australia and California. They are mostly located in the coastal sections of said areas. 

Physical Characteristics

The physical appearance of the Pittosporum tenuifolium can be somewhat determined by its namesakes. It has slender or thin leaves, with the leaves generally being oval-shaped. Leaves are generally darker on the upper face and have a lighter hue on the lower face that is not exposed. 

Due to the leaves, it might be hard to spot the small dark red flowers sprouting. Inside these flowers, you can spot the dark seeds that are encapsulated by the flower petals. The black matipo name originates from these highly visible black seeds present in the flowers. 

These petals have a distinct aroma to them but only during the night. This scent is of the honey nectar contained within them, and the Pittosporum tenuifolium can be seen to attract bees.

The Pittosporum Tenuifolium tree grows quite fast and can be seen to bloom in Spring. They have shallow roots and, despite their small stature are quite strong. 

What Are Its Uses?

What Are Uses of Pittosporum Tenuifolium

Pittosporum Tenuifolium has some unique uses. Some of the common ones are detailed below:

Stabilizing Water Flow

Due to how the roots of this particular tree are, they can help control water flow in areas. Due to them being found in coastal areas, they can be seen to slow down water flow. Properly planting them can help control water flow in an area preventing water from flowing into the land.

Preventing Water Pollution

Continuing from the previous point, Pittosporum tenuifolium can additionally help with preventing water pollution. They primarily do this by preventing water erosion which can lead to foreign objects entering a water stream. 

Resin And Oil Extracts

The resin and oil can be extracted from the Pittosporum tenuifolium. They are scented and can be used as fragrances. The oil has slight medicinal properties, and this is primarily used by the Maori people in New Zealand.

Garden Plant

Finally, Pittosporum tenuifolium can be used as a garden plant. Their unique look can suit well to certain gardens, and they are often used as bushes. They are hardy plants that can grow in tough conditions, so as a result, they are looked at favorably by gardeners. 

Maintenance And Care Tips

Maintenance And Care Tips for Pittosporum Tenuifolium

Pittosporum tenuifolium isn’t too difficult to take care of, but there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are two tips that you should try to incorporate to ensure the best growth for your Pittosporum Tenuifolium:

  • Getting the soil’s water content is the most important part of ensuring that this plant grows properly. The balance can be difficult to strike since you want the soil to be moist, but you don’t want water to overflow as it can cause decay.
  • Sunlight is essential for this plant. You want to ensure it gets a good degree of sunlight, and due to its height, you should not put it near other taller plants. Partial shade is fine but not always recommended.

Common Problems With The Plant

Common problem with Pittosporum Tenuifolium

The primary problem you will encounter with the Pittosporum Tenuifolium is an attack from insects and fungus. Several insect species prey on this plant, so you’ll need to take proper care and place preventative measures to ensure your plant does not die from pest attacks.

Fungal infections can cause the plant to rot. There isn’t any remedy for this, and you should spot early signs of infection as fast as possible and remove the infected parts.


Hopefully, this article has given you a bigger insight into the Pittosporum tenuifolium plant. It is a very useful plant and if you plan to grow it in your garden, be on the lookout for insects that prey on it. 

Mohammed Rujel

Over the Years, I have gained a lot of experience in different aspects of gardening. I actively learned about plants and how to care for them, and also have a lot of experience in dealing with pests and diseases. My expertise is on teaching how to grow healthy plants and make them look their best.

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