Pittosporum multiflorum

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Pittosporum multiflorumFamily: Pittosporaceae
Genus: Pittosporum
Synonym: Citriobatus pauciflorus, C. multiflorus
Common name: Orange thorn
ALA reference

This understorey shrub is very common in the Reserve and it is now really thriving in the restoration areas. Following the recent good seasons the plants are flush with new growth and covered in flowers. This species grows to about 2 metres and is extremely prickly with long thin thorns arising from the leaf axils.

After observing the different male and female flowers on Pittosporum revolutum I wondered if the same would apply to P. multiflorum. When I checked a number of plants in a clump I discovered they all had perfect bisexual flowers so assumed that this was the norm for this species. However about a week later when I went to photograph a plant (which incidentally was in a different area), I noticed that all these flowers lacked stamens and pollen. I then checked about 50 other plants in that clump and to my surprise could not find one plant with flowers that had pollen. I then checked about 20 plants in another clump and again could not find one plant with flowers that had stamens and pollen. By this time I was starting to doubt my initial observations. I went back to the area where I had looked at the flowers originally and confirmed that those flowers did in fact have both male and female parts. What I find really surprising and cannot explain is that all the plants in a clump seem to be of the same type – ie all bisexual or all female. I’ve put blue ribbons on the plants with bisexual flowers to see if any set fruit. I didn’t see any fruit set on the plants with the bisexual flowers but it may be too early to say for sure that they do not set fruit. The bright orange fruit is edible and attracts fruit eating birds. (September 2010)

This small very prickly shrub, which is very common throughout the reserve, grows to about 2 metres high although most of our plants are under 1 metre. Many plants were completely covered by Cat’s Claw creepers and while a few have died many are recovering and starting to thrive. Their flowers are small (about 5 mm across) and produced singly from nodes along the stems. The fruit is an edible orange berry about 4 – 10 mm in diameter which is attractive to some fruit eating birds. (August 2007)

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