Pittosporum eugenioides


Pittosporum: pitch seed
eugenioides: like Eugenia, a species of myrtle

Common Name(s)

Tarata, lemonwood

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Pittosporum eugenioides A.Cunn.



Brief Description

Tree bearing light green wavy-edge oval leaves and with a contrasting pale green central vein, dense sprays of yellow flowers and small dry fruits. Leaf buds covered in dark-edged scales. Fruit pointed, 5-6mm long which splits into two to show a papery layer covering black sticky seeds.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Pittosporum elegans Raoul, P. microcarpum Putt.


Endemic. Common in the North and South Islands.


Common tree of regenerating and mature forest in coastal to montane situations.


Gynodioecious tree up to 12 m tall but usually much less. Trunk 0.6-1 m diam, stout, clad in persistent pale-grey bark, branches numerous, erect then spreading. Leaf buds sticky, resinous. Leaves borne on slender petioles 10-20 mm long, alternate, 50-100(-150) x 25-40 mm, yellow-green, green, more or less blotched and mottled with paler green or yellow-green (sometimes white), somewhat leathery, glossy, smelling strongly when crushed of ivy or resin, elliptic to elliptic-oblong, apex acute to subacute; leaf margin undulate (very rarely not so), midrib pale green. Inflorescences terminal, numerous, subcorymbose compound umbels. Flowers pale yellow to yellow, very fragrant. Peduncles 10-20 mm, pedicels 5 mm, both sparsely hairy. Sepals 2 mm, ovate to narrow-ovate, pale caducous. Petals 5, 5-7 mm long, narrow-oblong. Capsules 2-valved (rarely 3), 5-6 mm, ovoid to elliptic, caducous, seeds immersed in dark yellow viscid pulp, whole structure covered in long persistent papery endocarp.

Similar Taxa

Well marked from all other indigenous and exotic Pittosporum spp. in New Zealand, by the yellow-green, mottled lanceolate leaves with undulating margins, and pale-yellow to yellow flowers arranged in subcorymbose compound umbels.


October - December

Flower Colours



October - January

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed. Can be grown from semi-hardwood cuttings.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 24

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Commonly cultivated and available from most garden centres, and then often as a variegated form rather than the pure plant. Occasionally seen for sale in European and English garden centres.

Fact Sheet Citation

de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Pittosporum eugenioides Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=1135 (Date website was queried)


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 30 August 2006. Description adapted from Cooper (1956).

References and further reading

Cooper, R.C. 1956: The Australian and New Zealand species of Pittosporum. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 43: 87-188

Gardner, R. 1999. Notes towards an excursion Flora. Pittosporum eugenioides as a wild plant. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 54, 1

This page last updated on 6 Nov 2019