The Pitosforo (Pittosporum ssp.) Is a shrub or a small tree, in nature there are various species, originating in Africa, Asia and Australia; in the garden in Italy only a couple of species are used, and certainly the most common is Pittosporum tobira, originating in Japan and China. It is a large shrub, fairly slow growing, evergreen, with spatulated leaves, often gathered in bunches, especially at the apex of the branches; they are dark green, shiny and are characterized by a showy light vein, which crosses the leaf in the center. In the spring i pitosfori they produce small fleshy, white flowers, which become cream with the passing of the days; they are very fragrant and bloom united in racemes or panicles; over time the shrub tends to assume a rounded shape, but is often pruned to take on the most varied forms; the pitosfori they are widely used to compose compact and dense hedges. After flowering, pitosfori produce semi-woody berries, inside which there are fertile seeds, covered with a resinous pulp; the name of the plants derives from this characteristic, in fact Pittosporum in Greek means resinous seeds.
General characteristics of the Pitosforo
The genus Pitosforo belongs to the family of Pittosporaceae. This genus is composed of about 200 species, mostly originating from New Zealand, Australia. Some very widespread in our country (such as tenuifolium or tobira) are instead endemic to China and Japan.
In nature, especially in the places of origin, they have an arboreal bearing and can even reach 20 meters in height. Cultivated by man, however, rarely exceed 10 meters, even in regions characterized by rather mild winters.
In any case, they have found a great diffusion in gardens because they are very suitable for the creation of hedges and barriers. They also live very well in a container and therefore can be used to delimit open spaces, making them easy to maintain (also given the rather slow growth, longevity and extreme simplicity of pruning). For these purposes, dwarf varieties or characterized by variegated foliage and with particular colors have been selected.
If we add their great resistance to the widespread conditions along the coasts (soils and brackish air) and the good rusticity of the most widespread varieties, we can only count them among the best flowering shrubs ever.