Pitosforo: characteristics of the species

Sir Joseph Banks, president of the English Royal Society, founded the genus pittosporum with a clear allusion to the resinous mucilage that envelops the seed in the capsule. In fact, pitta means pitch and sporos means seed in Greek. Some species of pittosporum with arboreal habit provide wood suitable for particular uses. The pittosporum flowers are used by the indigenous peoples of the Sunda islands to extract a cosmetic-type essential oil. The pittosporum provides the populations of the forests of Southern Africa with a bark which is properly processed and then used against dysentery. From Australia to China to New Zealand to Italy in the world various varieties of pittosporum are cultivated for ornamental purposes.

Pitosforo: sowing and transplanting

About 150 shrub and arborescent species, evergreen, semi-rustic and considered very ornamental, are attributed to the genus pittosforo. The genus finds its origins with the many species in Australia, New Zealand and East Asia. The species introduced in the Mediterranean area are perfectly acclimatised, so much so that the most common and widespread species in our peninsula is the pittosporum tobira, a species native to China and Japan. The pittosporum usually multiplies by cutting, to be buried, at the end of the summer, in a glass box, on the usual substrate of loose soil, mixed with peat and sand, at a temperature of at least 16-18 degrees. The seedlings must be transplanted in May of the following year. If you want to sow them instead, it must be done in spring even if this is not the most suitable choice.

Pitosforo: soil

The planting of young pittosporum plants must be carried out in the months of October and November or in the months of March and April. In more temperate regions it is best to plant in spring. The pittosporum prefers fertile, well-drained soil and a sunny position sheltered from cold winds, if the area is subject to harsh and humid winters. The pittosporum must be fertilized with organic matter to the plant, watered regularly throughout the spring and throughout the summer, at least until the month of September. In Mediterranean regions where the winter climate is very mild, plants if grown in isolation can also assume an arboreal habit, reaching a height of 4-5 meters with a crown diameter of 2-3 meters. The leaf is oblong with a rounded apex with a classic dark green color.

The pittosporum: flowering

The flowers of this beautiful and ornamental plant are white, yellowish, greenish or purple, even of an almost chocolate-like hue. The color changes according to the species to which it belongs. Sometimes the flowers are solitary, more often gathered in inflorescences that can take on different forms: panicles, corymbs, false terminal umbels. The pittosporum can also have small axillary inflorescences and in this case they are both terminal and lateral on the branches. The flowers of the pittosporum produce capsular fruits, ovate or globose, which open into 2 or 4 leathery or woody valves and which contain from two to different brown-red seeds, wrapped in a viscous and mucilaginous material. Enemies of this plant are scale insects. If the plant is attacked, it is necessary to immediately spray it with specific products.

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