T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Pittosporum colensoi (Rautawhiri)

Kingdom:   Plantae
(Unranked):        Angiosperms
(Unranked):        Eudicots
(Unranked):        Asterids
Order:       Apiales
Family:      Pittosporaceae
Genus:      Pittosporum
Species: P. colensoi
Scientific name: Pittosporum colensoi
Synonym: Pittosporum tenuifolium var colensoi, Pittosporum buchananii, Pittosporum huttonianum var. viridifolium
Common name: Rautawhiri

Pittosporum colensoi is an evergreen tree growing up to 10m high. It grows in lowland to montane forests, from the Bay of Plenty in North Island, southwards through South Island to Stewart Island, New Zealand.
The oval green leaves are 4-10 cm long, widest in the middle and hairless on both surfaces. The leaves are hairless on both surfaces but the underside is paler. A distinguishing feature of the leaf is raised midrib on the under surface. The edges of the leaves are not wavy, as they are in Pittosporum tenuifolium.
The flowers are dark red with a diameter 1.5 cm and appear November to December and are usually single on a leafs axis. The seed capsules (12mm long) which have 3 valves develop during January to April.

Details description from: Allan (1961) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 1.
Tree up to ± 10 m. tall, trunk up to ± 4 dm. diam., bark very dark, branches stouter than in P. tenuifolium. Lvs alt. on short stout petioles. Lamina elliptic- to lanceolate- to obovate-oblong, us. acute, ± 4-10 × 2-5 cm., coriac., dark green above, paler below; margins flat. Fls axillary, solitary or occ. in few-fld cymes, on short stout ± pubescent peduncles. Bracts somewhat persistent. Sepals broad-oblong, ± pubescent; petals dark to very dark red. Capsules ± globose, c. 12 mm. diam.; valves woody, thick, rugulose.





The raised midrib on the under surface is visable.