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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pittosporum undulatum - Victorian Box

The Victorian Box is a popular evergreen flowering tree from Australia with a nice tight formal pyramidal shape canopy growing 30 to 40' and 20 at its widest point. Fast growing and sometimes pruned into a hedge (less commonly than P. eugenoides). Often single stemmed but also commonly seen as a multi-stemmed tree.

Leaves are alternate, simple, elliptical, 4 -5 inches long and about 1" wide. Light green when emerging turning dark green later spring. Lower surface lighter green. Margins are undulated, some more than others. Not sure why they named this plant P. undulatum as P. eugenoides is way more undulated.

New foliage showing a lighter green color.

Stems are stout, green with obvious lenticles and large pointed buds. 

Flowers are small, white and very fragrant, borne in the early spring in 3" wide clusters. Each flower is about 1/2" diameter with 5 petals that reflex backwards.  One of the common names is Mock Orange but thats what many of us call Philodelphus. Oh well, still a nice smell.

Fruit is a capsule, green ripening orange, about 1/2" diameter. Seeds are reddish orange and sticky.

Trunks are smooth gray colored, these are showing a multi-stemmed habit which is not that uncommon. 

Misidentification: Other Pittosporums, especially P. eugenoides but its much lighter green and way more undulated. They are more narrow as well if allowed to grow as a tree.

Location: Pretty common, the ones in the top picture are located on Sumner Dr south of Clubhouse Dr.

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