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Shrub or tree to 10 m. Branchlets dark brown and covered with white tomentum (like cobwebs) when young. Leaves evergreen, clustered at the tips of branches, 4–12 × 2–5 cm, somewhat leathery, elliptic to oblong or obovate, glabrous or with white tomentum when young, ~12 primary veins on each side of the midrib, margins entire, flat or revolute, apex acute or obtuse; petiole 0.5–1.5 cm long with white, appressed tomentum when young. Flowers solitary or in terminal or axillary inflorescences; inflorescences with two to five flowers, often white-tomentose. Flowers hermaphrodite or unisexual; sepals with white tomentum outside, glabrous within; petals free, dark red to magenta, oblanceolate to linear and 1.2–1.8 cm long. Capsule subglobose to obovoid, covered in white tomentum when young, 1.2–2 cm diameter, dehiscing by (two to) three valves. Seeds 18–23, reddish black. Flowering October to November, fruiting March to May (New Zealand). Cooper 1956, Allan 1961. Distribution NEW ZEALAND: Coromandel Peninsula, Great Barrier Is., North Is. Habitat Forest edges and regenerating forest, between 0 and 700 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Cross-reference K410.
Pittosporum huttonianum is rare in our area but widely cultivated in New Zealand, where it is regarded as an attractive small tree. With quite large evergreen leaves and dull red flowers capable of withstanding strong winds, it is useful for shelter plantings (Auckland Botanic Gardens 2001). The flowers are strongly fragrant, the scent suggesting that of a Dianthus (S. Hogan, pers. comm. 2008). It grows fast into a tall, narrow specimen, achieving 4 m in three years in Oregon (S. Hogan, pers. comm. 2008). It has grown at Logan since 1983.