Top

Scientific Name
Common Names
Family
Origin
Naturalised Distribution
Cultivation
Habitat
Distinguishing Features
Habit
Stems and Leaves
Flowers and Fruit
Reproduction and Dispersal
Impacts
Similar Species
Legislation
Sources
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Click on images to enlarge


habit in fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


habit in flower (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


shiny green leaves with wavy margins (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


flower buds and young flowers (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


cluster of flowers (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


leaf undersides, younger stems and flowers (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


close-up of young leaves and flowers with reflexed petals (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


young fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


clusters of immature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


orange immature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


close-up of mature fruit that have opened and are releasing their sticky seeds (Photo: Sheldon Navie)


close-up of seeds (Photo: Steve Hurst at USDA PLANTS Database)

Sweet pittosporum
Pittosporum undulatum

Scientific Name

Pittosporum undulatum Vent.

Common Names

Australian cheesewood, Australian daphne, Australian mock orange, cheesewood, mock orange, native daphne, native orange, orange pittosporum, orange-berry pittosporum, pittosporum, snowdrop tree, sweet pittosporum, Victorian box, Victorian laurel, wild coffee

Family

Pittosporaceae

Origin

Native to the coastal and sub-coastal districts of eastern Australia (i.e. south-eastern and central Queensland, eastern New South Wales, the ACT and eastern Victoria).

Naturalised Distribution

Widely naturalised naturalised beyond its native range in southern Australia (i.e. in south-western Western Australia, in Tasmania, in south-eastern South Australia and beyond its native range in Victoria). It is also naturalised on Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island. It is also thought to have invaded habitats that it did not previously occupy within its native range in New South Wales.

Naturalised overseas in southern Europe (i.e. France, Spain and Portugal), southern Africa (i.e. South Africa), Saint Helena, India, China, New Zealand, south-western USA (i.e. California), Mexico, the Caribbean, South America (i.e. Colombia, Bolivia and Chile) and Hawaii.

Cultivation

Sweet pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) has been widely cultivated as a garden ornamental in eastern and southern Australia.

Habitat

In its natural habitat it grows in rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests and in sheltered situations in dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands.

This species is a weed of open woodlands, grasslands, coastal environs, gardens, roadsides, urban bushland, closed forests, and riparian vegetation in temperate and sub-tropical and regions.

Distinguishing Features

Habit

A large evergreen shrub or tree usually growing 4-14 m tall, but capable of growing up to 20 m in height.

Stems and Leaves

The older stems are covered in a smooth light grey to brownish-coloured bark. Younger shoots are hairless (i.e. glabrous) or slightly hairy (i.e. puberulent) and green or reddish-brown in colour.

The leaves are borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) 12-15 mm long and are smooth and glossy in appearance. They are hairless (i.e. glabrous) with entire but wavy (i.e. undulate) margins. These leaves (5-15 cm long and 1.5-5 cm wide) are narrowly oblong (i.e. oblanceolate), oval (i.e. elliptic) or egg-shaped in outline (i.e. ovate) and are alternately arranged or clustered at the tips of the branches. They have dark green upper surfaces with paler undersides and pointed tips (i.e. acute to acuminate apices).

Flowers and Fruit

The creamy-white flowers (10-20 mm long) are strongly scented and borne in small clusters (containing 4-5 flowers) at the tips of the branches. They are bell-shaped (i.e. tubular) with five petals (10-12 mm long) that are fused together at the base in to a tube (i.e. corolla tube). The petal lobes are bent backwards (i.e. reflexed) at their tips. The flowers also have five green sepals (6-10 mm long), five stamens, and a hairy ovary topped with a short style. Flowering occurs mostly from late winter through to late spring.

The hard fruit are rounded (i.e. globular) or slightly flattened (i.e. sub-globular or obovate) capsules. These fruit (10-16 mm long and about 10 mm across) contain 20-30 seeds and turn from green to yellow then orange as they ripen. When fully ripe the fruit splits open to release its seeds, and eventually turns brown in colour. The sticky angular seeds (about 3 mm long and 1 mm thick) are smooth in texture and reddish-brown or brownish when mature.

Reproduction and Dispersal

This species reproduces by seed and suckers.

Seeds are eaten and spread by fruit-eating (i.e. frugivorous) birds. They are also dispersed by sticking to birds, other animals and clothing and are sometimes spread in dumped garden waste.

Impacts

Sweet pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) is regarded as a significant environmental weed in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales, Western Australia and on Lord Howe Island. It was also recently listed as a priority environmental weed in four Natural Resource Management regions, and appears in the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD).

Similar Species

Sweet pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) can be confused with other native species such as diamond-leaved pittosporum (Auranticarpa rhombifolia) and brush muttonwood (Rapanaea howittiana). These species can be separated by the following differences:

Sweet pittosporum (Pittosporum undulatum) also hybridises with banyalla (Pittosporum bicolor), and this hybrid is intermediate between the two species.

Legislation

This species is declared under legislation in the following states and territories:

Sources

Anonymous (2002). A Global Compendium of Weeds. http://www.hear.org/gcw. Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk Project and Department of Agriculture - Western Australia.

Anonymous (2002). Australia's Virtual Herbarium. http://www.anbg.gov.au/avh. Australian National Botanic Gardens, Environment Australia, Canberra, ACT.

Anonymous (2006). Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/index.pl. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, National Genetic Resources Program, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Beltsville, Maryland, USA.

Anonymous (2006). Pittosporum undulatum (shrub, tree). Global Invasive Species Database. http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/. Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).

Anonymous (2006). Pittosporum undulatum Vent. Australian cheesewood. Plants Profile. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PIUN2. Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Anonymous (2006). Pittosporum undulatum Vent., Pittosporaceae. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER): plant threats to Pacific ecosystems. http://www.hear.org/pier/species/pittosporum_undulatum.htm. Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, Hawaii, USA.

Anonymous (2007). NSW Agriculture. http://www.agric.nsw.gov.au. NSW Agriculture, Orange, New South Wales.

Anonymous (2007). Weeds Australia. http://www.weeds.org.au. National Weeds Strategy Executive Committee, Launceston, ACT.

Blood, K. (2001). Environmental Weeds: a field guide for SE Australia. C.H. Jerram and Associates - Science Publishers, Mt. Waverley, Victoria.

Ermert, S. (2001). Gardener's Companion to Weeds. Second Edition. Reed New Holland, Sydney, New South Wales.

Henderson, L. (2001). Alien Weeds and Invasive Plants. Plant Protection Research Institute, Agricultural Research Council, South Africa.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds: a guide to the weeds of Western Australia. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park, Western Australia.

Lazarides, M., Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO Handbook of Australian Weeds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria.

Makinson, R.O. (2007). New South Wales Flora Online. PlantNET - The Plant Information Network System of Botanic Gardens Trust. http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au. Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney, New South Wales.

Muyt, A. (2001). Bush Invaders of South-East Australia. R.G. and F.J. Richardson, Meredith, Victoria.

Navie, S.C. (2004). Declared Plants of Australia. CD-ROM. The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland.

Stanley, T.E. and Ross, E.M. (1983). Flora of South-eastern Queensland. Volume 1. Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Queensland.