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Commonly known as Karo, Parchment bark
OFTEN sweetly night-scented and always sticky-seeded mainly evergreen shrubs and trees found in wideranging habitats in Australasia, southern Africa, southern and eastern Asia and the Pacific islands. It is thought that its origin was the supercontinent Gondwana. Genus of about 200 species.
EvergreenLeaves dark-green above, white or buff-felted beneath, 5-7cm (2-3in) long.
Brown or black
PurpleShades of purple/mauve/lilac/violetDeep purple
Tall ShrubOr small tree with ascending stems. Flowers in terminal clusters, males in clusters of up to 10, females in clusters of 5, followed by almost spherical seed capsules to 1.5cm (¾in) across
Half hardy - unheated greenhouse / mild winterHardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK except in severe winters and a risk from sudden (early) frosts. May be hardy elsewhere with wall shelter or good micro-climate. Likely to be damaged or killed in cold winters. Plant can withstand temperatures down to -5°C (23°F)
Additional FeaturesPests & DiseasesLeaf spot, powdery mildew.Place of originNew Zealand (North Island)Resistant to honey fungusThese plants have little or few problems with honey fungus.
Flower ShapeBell/LanternTubular-bell-shaped to 1cm (½in) across
HardinessFrost hardy (down to -5)
Pruning groupPruning group 1Suitable for: Deciduous and evergreen trees, and some deciduous shrubs.
Pruning: Minimal pruning required. Prune wayward or crossing branches to maintain a healthy framework.
When: When dormant in the late winter/early spring. Some in the summer/autumn to prevent bleeding of sap.
RHS group 1
Scented PlantsScented flowers
Soil ConditionsFertile moist well-drained soil
PITTOSPORUM tenuifolium 'Tom Thumb'
ASTELIA nervosa 'Red Devil'
CLIANTHUS puniceus 'Albus'
Buy Varieties of PITTOSPORUM
(formerly daphnephylloides) - huge dark green leaves of up to 10 ins. Scented cream flowers and small red fruit. Hardy if sheltered
downy young stems. Small, maroon-crimson flowers
grey-green leaves variegated creamy-white on the edges
pale yellow scented flowers and leaves margined creamy-white
small pale yellow fragrant flowers. Dense growth and evergreen
fragrant cream-yellow flowers
panicles of scented yellow flowers
bright greenish-yellow blotches in the centre of the young leaves which become less distinct on maturity
green new growth. Leaves then become purplish-brown
cream and green with distinctive pink edge. Hardy
('Saundersii') - rounded leaves are variegated white on cream
with variegated foliage and a gold star in the centre
a new variety which is a pure light green and makes an excellent hedge or topiary with minimal trimming. It does not become leggy and its leaves hold on the lower branches
('Snow') - green speckled white
very dense natural ball of shiny, grey-green leaves edged with white. Small, honey-scented flowers
leaves suffused silvery-grey with narrow white margins
compact shrub with small leaves variegated green and gold and set off against black stems
dwarf purple new growth emerges light green
silver green leaves margined cream
a new and hardy variety with pale silvery green leaves edged white. The leaves become tinged dark pink in winter
young leaves greenish-gold and maturing golden-yellow with wavy edges
individual leaves are wrinkled with a bluish tinge. Strong growing form
white stephanotis-like scented flowers in JUN-JUL, excellent for coastal planting
silver variegated marbled leaves