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Sweet Pittosporum

Pittosporum undulatum
Sweet Pittosporum
Very Common

This small to medium tree (occasionally large) can usually be recognized by the way the leaves appear to come off the stem in whorls. They are alternate, coming spirally off the stem, but are crowded in groups of up to 6 leaves towards the end of the branchlets.

The leaves are dark-green on the upper surface, usually with wavy edges, tapering gradually to a narrow base but more abruptly to a point at the tip. The leaf stalk is 1-2 cm long and usually reddish. The new leaves are bright-green, standing out distinctly against the older, dark leaves.

In spring, Sweet Pittosporum bears fragrant cream flowers in clusters of 3 or 4, each flower with 5 turned-back petals. The clusters of fruit, which ripen to orange in winter, are about 1 cm across, with a small, fine point at the tip. The 2 valves open to reveal the sticky orange covering of many small seeds.

Because it produces a dense shade and is quick-growing, Sweet Pittosporum is a a useful tree to extend the area of a rainforest patch. It can be propagated from well-cleaned seed but germination may take up to 4 months.

Distribution: Mitchell River Gorge (Vic) to Gympie (Qld).