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Lemonwood (Pittosporum eugenioides)


Pittosporum eugenioides, common names lemonwood or tarata, is a species of New Zealand native evergreen tree. Growing to 12 m (39 ft) tall by 5 m (16 ft) broad, it is conical when young but more rounded in shape when mature. Its leaves are mottled yellow-green with curly edges and a salient bright midrib, and have a strong lemony smell when crushed. It has highly fragrant clusters of attractive yellow-cream flowers in spring, followed by distinctive black seed capsules. It is found throughout New Zealand's North and South Islands along forest margins and stream banks from sea level to 600 m (1,969 ft). It is New Zealand's largest Pittosporum. The binomial qualifier eugenioides means "resembling Eugenia", a different genus of plants The variegated cultivar 'Variegatum' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Pittosporum eugenioides starts out as a small compact tree, as it matures it becomes a tall branched tree. The lemonwood flowers between October and December. The following year after flowering the capsules will open. The capsules open the next year because the fruit of the lemonwood takes between 12 and 14 months to ripen. There is unripe fruit and ripe fruit present on the lemonwood at the same time, this is the current season’s fruit and last season’s fruit. Lemonwood is pollinated by both insetcs and birds, the seeds are bird dispersed. The seeds of the lemonwood germinate quickly and will become seedlings within a month.

Taxonomic tree

  • Domain: Eukarya

    • Kingdom: Plantae

      • Phylum:

        • Class: Magnoliopsida

          • Order: Apiales

            • Family: Pittosporaceae

              • Genus: Pittosporum