Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Pittosporum rubiginosum A.Cunn.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © Barry Jago
Leaves and flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves and dehiscing fruit. © CSIRO
Leaves, fruit and dehiscing fruit. © CSIRO
Fruit, side view, dehiscing fruit and seed. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Cunningham, A. (1839) Annals of Natural History 4 4: 108. Type: Queensland, Mt Cook, Endeavour River, 1820, A. Cunningham 26; holo: K; iso: BM, MO.

Common name

Hairy Red Pittosporum; Pittosporum, Hairy Red


Flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-3 m tall, occasionally flowers when smaller.


Leaf blades variable in size, about 6-24 x 1.5-8 cm usually in whorls or pseudowhorls, underside usually purplish, petioles about 0.5 cm long. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade clothed in straight, erect, brown hairs. Twigs and petioles clothed in dark brown erect hairs.


Sepals hairy on the outer surface but glabrous on the inner surface, each sepal about 4-5 x 1-1.5 mm. Petals about 14-16 x 2.5-3 mm. Anther filaments glabrous, base of the filament wider than the anther. Anther apex aristate, base auriculate. Ovary clothed in erect hairs, style glabrous.


Capsule ellipsoid, about 15-23 x 10-15 mm. Outer surface of the fruit clothed in erect, straight hairs. Seeds angular.


Cotyledons about 10-12 x 1 mm. First pair of leaves clothed in brown or purplish erect hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Cataphylls usually present among the true leaves. Stem clothed in brown hairs. Seed germination time 63 to 146 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland, occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1500 m. Grows as an understory plant in well developed lowland, upland and mountain rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

A shrub usually 2-3 m tall now becoming popular in tropical gardens. It will grow in shaded positions and has cream to yellow leaves and yellow fruits that split to expose red seeds.

Pittosporum rubiginosum A.Cunn. subsp. rubiginosum, Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 43: 168(1956). Pittosporum callicarpeum Domin, Bibliotheca Bot. : 712(1926), Type: Queensland, Bellenden Ker Region, dec 1909, Jan. 1910, Domin: holo: PR?.
RFK Code
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