Pittosporum multiflorum (PITTOSPORACEAE) Orange Thorn

Plants to Plant

A common understorey shrub to 2 m tall in or near rainforest or wet sclerophyll forest. White, tiny flowers appearing in summer. Edible orange globular berry ripe May – July. This is a rigid, many-branched spiny shrub liking full sun or shade. Attracts small birds to the garden because its spines protect them from larger birds. Propagate from seed or cuttings. Germination is slow but reliable. Fruit eaten by Wonga Pigeon, food plant for Bright Copper butterfly. The seeds are coated with a sticky resinous substance. The genus is named after their sticky seeds, from the Greek meaning pitch seed. Multiflorum is relative, what might be many leaved for one genus, might be sparsely leaved for another. Was Citriopbatus pauciflorus – citriobatus from Greek kitron fruit of the kitrea, citron, and batoeis, thorny: in reference to its thorns and small, orange fruits; pauciflorus from Latin pauciflorus few-flowered, in reference to its sparse flowering habit.

Photo: Robert Whyte