Monday, June 4, 2018

Orange Thorn

Pittosporum multiflorum (Citriobatus pauciflorum)


Here’s a modestly pretty little bush which can start to show fruit at this time of year when there is little else in the way of bright and pretty fruits to be seen.
There’s something odd about its name, though. “Multiflorum” implies that it has lots of flowers, while the old name “pauciflorum” means that it doesn’t have many at all. Wherever I see it, I would have to say that it neither flowers nor fruits particularly vigorously. What they lose in quantity, though, they make up for by being bright and pretty, gleaming out amongst the dark leaves in its usual shady habitat.



It is the rainforest cousin of our more familiar birds’ nest bush, Pittosporum viscidum. Not quite so drought or frost hardy, it grows in our local wetter rainforests at Ravensbourne, Goomburra, and the Bunya Mountains.
Like its cousin, it no doubt offers much appreciated shelter to the small birds, which are doing it tough these days when cats are everywhere. Those of us who like to attract birds to our gardens try to make space for some prickly small shrubs in the low-traffic corners of our gardens.





Orange thorn tends to be a scruffy little bush in the wild, but as a garden plant it could probably be tided up with pruning  to produce an even more dense, bird-sheltering bush. It does best in sites where it gets some shade.
The fruits were apparently eaten by aborigines, but I have not heard of any modern people eating them and suspect that we might not rate them as particularly tasty. I would rather leave them for the native pigeons, myself, but if your experience is otherwise, can you please let me know?

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