Pittosporum tenuifolium, commonly known as Kohuhu (a Maori name) is a small evergreen tree from, not surprisingly, New Zealand. This attractive plant is slowly gaining acceptance around the world, especially in the UK and North America. It will start out rather shrubby until, over time, it reaches 15 to 20 feet in height with a spread slightly less. In youth it is fast growing, which is a great advantage, since it is so well-adapted as a screen or hedge. Kohuhu forms a tidy natural oval but takes pruning well if a more formal look is required. Its most attractive asset is, like most pittosporums, its leaves: leathery, glossy, and medium green. And there are some cultivars that have red and variegated colouring. This foliage is so handsome that the tree is quite desirable on that basis alone. But then there are the beautiful flowers, dark, reddish-purple, and bell-shaped. They come singly or in clusters and are sweetly fragrant. Kohuhu is especially appreciated on those warm summer nights when it perfumes the entire garden.
Kohuhu is also tough and will thrive in sandy or clay soil, in heat or drought (once established), and shade and even sea-side conditions. It is, however, a warm season tree, not quite fully hardy in the UK where it requires a south-facing wall. It will do well in the southern US and the more temperate coastal areas. And it is a garden staple in Australia.



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