Japanese Cheesewood - pittosporum tobira

The Japanese Cheesewood tree (species: Pittosporum tobira) is an interesting ornamental tree that is native to Japan but cultivated in other parts of the world in warmer climates. In the US this tree species can be found in California as well as Florida and Georgia. It grows as a small tree or large shrub. Max height is about 20 feet.

Other names that I´ve seen for this tree species are "Japanese mockorange", "Japanese pittosporum" or "Mock Orange". Its tendency to have multiple thick stems that have a sort of twisted, irregular form give this tree a sort of giant bonsai look. It is a great addition to any ornamental garden.

The flowers are small and white and similar in shape to those of the Orange tree. Purhaps for this reason it is sometimes called the "mock orange".

The fruits are small marble shaped seed pods that have a pointy tip on the ends. They grow is small clusters at the terminal ends of the brances often surrounded by a rosetta effect of the stiff, dark green leaves.

The lower parts of the mature branches are usually bare of leaves and smaller brances adding to the ornamental effect. I´m not sure if this is due more to carefull pruning or if this tree species just grows this way naturally. All the specimens I´ve seen have been in gardens so it is hard to tell what the tree might look like in the wild.

The images from the post come from both Málaga and Madrid. The sign below is from a fairly large Japanese cheesewood tree in the Madrid botanical gardens.


    Peccato che da noi (Romagna-Italy) si seccano prima di raggiungere 3 metri...anche dopo i 30 anni di vita.

  2. Thanks for the info. The fragrance of this this tree/shrub is amazing and plan to buy one for my new house in San Diego.

  3. I love the smell of fresh cut trimmings from this tree. The roots are extremely fragrant also.