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Monday, December 1, 2014

Pittosporum crassifolium - Karo

The Karo tree is not commonly planted any longer, but I do like the silver/gray foliage in a landscape. May be mistaken for a large shrub but grows to about 15' with a spreading habit, usually multi-stemmed (okay a large multi-stemmed shrub). Reportedly a weed in California though planted and see so little here I doubt it will be an issue.

Leaves are evergreen, simple, alternate, oblanceolate to obovate, 2-3" long, leathery, a bit on the thicker side compared to other pittosporums, white hairs on the lower surface margins entire but revolute, may be gray-green or green. The name comes from the resemblance to a Crassula.

These leaves are more green than gray.

Beautiful flowers in the spring, 1/2"diameter, dark red to purple, in clusters of 6-10, each on a long peduncle.

The fruit are capsules, about the size of a nickel, covered with the same white hairs as the stems and leaves, opening to show an orange inner layer with black seeds.

Stems are also covered with the white hairs. Buds clustered at the tips.

Misidentification: Not sure, foliage is a key

Santa Cruz
322 Maple St on the Washington St side of the house.

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