Pittosporum crassifolium
karo

Pittosporaceae (pittosporum family)
New Zealand
Pittosporum crassifolium fruit, leaf. From An Illustrated Manual of Pacific Coast Trees, Howard E. McMinn & Evelyn Maino

A shrub or small tree with silvery gray appearance due to pale felted undersurfaces on the 2- to 4-inch leaves. Small deep magenta flowers occur in spring. It is not clear why important New Zealand trees that grow in San Francisco and Santa Cruz are poorly represented at Stanford; for example kauri (Agathis australis), kowhai (Sophora tetraptera), and rimu (Dacridium cupressinum).

A trimmed hedge of Karo separates Branner Hall’s front garden from the parking lot to the west. A single specimen is on the path off Alvarado Row opposite San Francisco Court, near the drinking fountain.

Look for karo in other campus locations as a small tree, trimmed hedge, and a ground cover.

· Key for campus pittosporums.

Name derivation: Pittosporum – Greek pitta (pitch) and spora (seed), referring to the sticky seed coating; crassifolium – thick-leaved.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005.