Vascular – Native
Trees & Shrubs - Dicotyledons
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.
2n = 24
Current conservation status
The threat classification status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable | Qualifiers: CD, RR, RF
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable | Qualifiers: CD, RR
2009 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable | Qualifiers: CD, RR
2004 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable
Small tree with dark twigs bearing leathery leaves with teeth along the upper half of the margin, clusters of cream flowers and hard capsules inhabiting Northwest Nelson. Capsules 12mm long, longer than wide, splitting into two to show the black sticky seeds in a orange pith.
Endemic. South Island, where it is confined to North West Nelson. All known populations occur within the Kahurangi National Park and have a distribution centered on the Cobb and Takaka Rivers.
Silver beech (Nothofagus menziesii (Hook.f.) Oerst.) forest and subalpine scrub. Most (if not all) current occurrences are on or near cliff faces or walking tracks, locations less prone to the influence of browsing animals.
Small spreading tree up to 4–6 × 3–4m, forming a broad canopy crown. Bark dark grey to grey-black. Branches stout, ascending to spreading. Branchlets initially purple-black to reddish-purple or brown, sparsely to distinctly puberulent, maturing grey, glabrate. Leaves alternate to subopposite or whorled, crowded toward branchlet tips; petioles stout, 3–20mm, initially sparsely puberulent, glabrate; lamina 50–100 × 20–40mm, oblong-elliptic, lanceolate, lanceolate-elliptic, rarely obovate, apex obtuse, acute or acuminate, base attenuate, cuneate or acute, margins coarsely serrate, subentire or entire, thickened, slightly revolute, dark green-brown to dark-green above, paler beneath, glabrous, coriaceous; midrib raised above and beneath, secondary veins evident, 14–18 either side of midrib. Inflorescences in condensed, terminal, compound umbels; peduncles subtended by a whorl of leaves and numerous caducous, glabrous, ciliate bud scales 15–22mm, peduncles and pedicels 4-angular, 10–20mm long, accrescent in fruit, white-tomentose, each peduncle bearing 1–6 pedicels, each subtended by caducous, glabrous, linear bracts up to 10mm long. Flowers night-fragrant, gynodioecious. Sepals 5.0–6.0 × 0.5–1.0mm, linear, glabrous; petals 8.0–9.0 × 3.0–3.5mm obovate, linear-oblong, obtuse, spreading from base, white or cream, sometimes with red stripes. Male flowers: stamens 4, filaments 7–8mm, cream, anthers 2–3 × 3mm, yellow, reflexed; gynoecium rudimentary or functional. female; flowers: stamens 4 rudimentary (often reduced to staminodes); ovary 1.5–3.3 × 0.5–1.5mm, globose to ellipsoid, glabrous; style c. 2mm; stigma truncate. Capsules in dense clusters, 15 × 9mm, ellipsoid, ellipsoid-oblong, 2-valved, valves green, greenish brown to black, coriaceous, deciduous, immersed in orange-yellow resinous pulp. Muciliage dark red or orange-yellow. Seeds 20–28, trigonal to irregular, lustrous dark red, held together by a persistent papery, cone-shaped endocarp, long after the valves have dropped.
A very distinctive species, immediately recognised by the dark purple-black or reddish-purple stems, rather broad, lanceolate, dark brown green toothed leaves, and profuse clusters of creamy white flowers.
November to December (-January)
January to May
Easy from fresh seed. Can be grown with some difficulty from semi hardwood cuttings. Grafts easily. A remarkably tough and resilient species which can tolerate extremes of drought and moisture. It makes an excellent shrub for a small garden but is rather slow growing, and can be fickle to flower. It does best, and is more likely to flower in cooler places and it should be planted in semi-shade.
Threatened at all known localities by deer and possums browse.
pittosporum: Pitch seed
Where To Buy
Occasionally available from commercial garden centres. Plants are held by several specialist native plant nurseries.
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
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Pittosporum dallii Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/pittosporum-dallii/ (Date website was queried)