Pittosporum tenuifolium


Pittosporum: pitch seed
tenuifolium: thin leaf

Common Name(s)

Kohukohu, kohuhu, black matipo

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Pittosporum tenuifolium Sol. ex Gaertn.



Brief Description

Small tree with very dark twigs bearing pale green shiny wavy thin leaves and very dark flowers and 12mm wide capsules that split into two or three to show the black sticky seeds. Leaves usually 2-4cm long.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


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.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Trichilia monophylla Richard, Pittosporum fasciculatum Hook.f., Pittosporum tenuifolium subsp. fasciculatum (Hook.f.) Kirk, Pittosporum tenuifolium var. fasciculatum (Hook.f.) Kirk, Pittosporum colensoi var. fasciculatum (Hook.f.) Cheeseman, Pittosporum tenuifolium Sol. ex Gaertn. subsp. tenuifolium


Endemic and widespread throughout country.


A small tree of coastal to montane shrubland and forested habitats. Preferring successional habitats.


Shrub or small gynodioecious tree up to 10 m tall (usually much less). Trunk 0.3-0.4(-0.6) m diam., stout, clad in dark grey-black or brown persistent bark. Branches numerous, erect then spreading. Branchlets and young leaves pubescent, hairs pale yellow or cream. Petioles short, somewhat fleshy. Leaves alternate, (10-)30(-70) x (5-)10(-20) mm, leathery, pale-green to dark green above, lighter below, oblong, oblong-ovate or elliptic-obovate, apex obtuse to acute, rarely acuminate, margins entire, often undulose. Flowers solitary or in axillary cymes, rather fragrant, especially at night. Pedicels stout, pale green, fleshy, bracts entire, lanceolate, caducous. Sepals narrowly ovate-oblong, subacute to obtuse, silky hairy. Petals 12 mm long, lanceolate, dark red, black (rarely yellow or white). Capsules 2-valved (rarely 3), subglobose, valves woody, black when mature, long persistent. Seeds immersed in sticky, red or yellow viscid pulp.


October - November (-December)

Flower Colours

Black,Red / Pink


January - March

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed. Can be grown from semi-hardwood cuttings.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 24

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Very common in cultivation. Kohuhu and cultivars are commonly sold by commercial nurseries and are also grown throughout the world.


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 10 January 2004. Description adapted from Allan (1961).

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Wellington, Government Printer

This page last updated on 1 Apr 2014