Kohuhu Pittosporum tenuifolium

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care


Pittosporum tenuifolium, commonly known as Kohuhu, is a captivating plant recognizable by its unique foliage and overall form. It showcases small, evergreen leaves that are thin and wavy with a glossy texture, exuding an almost leathery feel. The leaves typically exhibit a dark, olive green color, granting the shrub an elegant and dense appearance to its canopy. Sprouting from the branches are small, inconspicuous flowers that may sometimes go unnoticed due to their size. These flowers are enchanting with their honey scent, a noteworthy characteristic that adds an olfactory delight to gardens. Following the blooming period, the Kohuhu produces small, spherical fruit. The stems of this plant are another distinguishing feature, as they often possess a unique dark hue, contrasting beautifully with the vibrant green of the leaves. This dark coloring of the stems coupled with the densely arranged foliage creates a striking visual presentation. The growth pattern of Kohuhu tends to be upright with an overall rounded shape, contributing to its visual appeal as a specimen or hedging plant. With its refined texture and contrasting colors, the Kohuhu is a versatile plant that professes both aesthetic appeal and functional uses in landscaping and ornamental horticulture.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Kohuhu, Black Matipo, New Zealand Pittosporum, Tawhiwhi

    • Common names

      Pittosporum nigricans, Pittosporum tenuifolium var. nigricans, Pittosporum tenuifolium var. tenuifolium, Pittosporum tenuifolium var. typicum

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Kohuhu, the common name for Pittosporum tenuifolium, is generally considered to have a low level of toxicity to humans. While it is not commonly associated with severe poisoning, ingesting parts of the plant can potentially lead to mild gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. It is always advised to exercise caution and keep plants away from young children who might accidentally ingest plant material.

    • To pets

      Kohuhu, the common name for Pittosporum tenuifolium, is also considered to have a low level of toxicity to pets. If ingested, the plant could cause mild gastrointestinal upset in animals such as cats and dogs, which could include symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. Although not typically lethal, it is prudent to prevent pets from consuming this plant to avoid any potential discomfort or health issues.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      20 feet (6 meters)

    • Spread

      10 feet (3 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      New Zealand


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Appeal: Pittosporum tenuifolium, commonly known as Kohuhu, is aesthetically pleasing due to its attractive foliage and shape, making it a popular choice for decorative purposes in gardens and landscapes.
    • Privacy Screening: With its dense growth habit, Kohuhu is effective as a privacy screen or hedge, helping to create secluded areas in gardens and outdoor spaces.
    • Windbreak: It can act as a windbreak or shelterbelt in coastal or exposed sites, providing protection for other plants and outdoor areas.
    • Noise Reduction: The thick foliage of Kohuhu can help to dampen and absorb noise pollution, creating quieter and more peaceful environments.
    • Erosion Control: Its root system helps to stabilize soil, making it useful for preventing erosion on slopes and in other vulnerable areas.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Kohuhu provides shelter and food for various species of birds and insects, supporting biodiversity within its native and introduced ranges.
    • Low Maintenance: This plant generally requires minimal care once established, making it a convenient choice for those seeking a low-maintenance garden.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, Kohuhu is fairly drought-tolerant, making it suitable for gardens in regions with low rainfall or for water-wise landscapes.
    • Variety of Uses: Kohuhu can be used in various landscaping applications such as specimen planting, topiary, or even container gardening, offering versatility in garden design.
    • Adaptability: It can adapt to a wide range of soil types and conditions, allowing it to thrive in many different climate zones.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Pittosporum tenuifolium, also known as Kohuhu, can be used as a natural fence or screen due to its dense foliage, offering privacy in gardens and outdoor spaces.
    • The wood of Kohuhu is fine-grained and can be used in woodworking for small objects such as inlays, turnings, and crafts.
    • Its dense branches make it suitable for use as a windbreak to protect more delicate plants in the garden.
    • Kohuhu's attractive foliage can be used in floral arrangements, providing a textural contrast to flowers and other greens.
    • The plant is used in topiary and can be shaped into various forms for ornamental purposes in gardens.
    • Because of its rapid growth and ease of trimming, Kohuhu can be used in garden mazes or garden art projects.
    • The seeds of Pittosporum tenuifolium have been traditionally used to make necklaces and other types of jewelry by various indigenous cultures.
    • As a durable evergreen, Kohuhu is planted in urban environments for its resilience to pollution and its ability to withstand the urban climate.
    • The plant’s contrasting dark stems and light green leaves can be used to create visual accents in landscape designs.
    • Kohuhu can serve as a backdrop plant in mixed borders, enhancing the display of flowering plants in front of it.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Kohuhu is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Kohuhu is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Protection: Pittosporum tenuifolium, commonly known as Kohuhu, is often used in hedges and borders. This gives it a symbolic association with creating safe boundaries and protecting spaces.
    • Resilience: Kohuhu is known for its toughness and ability to thrive in difficult conditions. Symbolically, it represents resilience and the ability to persevere through challenging times.
    • Peace: The evergreen nature of Kohuhu along with its lush, dense foliage can symbolize peace and tranquility, providing a calming presence in any garden.
    • Adaptability: Kohuhu can adapt to a variety of soil types and environmental conditions, making it symbolic of flexibility and the ability to thrive in diverse situations.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Kohuhu should be watered deeply, allowing water to soak into the soil, reaching the root zone. This should be done when the top inch of soil feels dry, typically every 7 to 10 days, depending on the climate and weather conditions. During hot, dry periods, the frequency may increase, requiring additional waterings to maintain soil moisture without saturating the plant. Each watering session should use enough water to moisten the soil; for potted plants, this could mean using approximately half a gallon to a gallon, depending on pot size. It is important to avoid overwatering, as Kohuhu does not like to sit in wet, waterlogged soil.

  • sunLight

    Kohuhu prefers full sun to partial shade conditions. The best spot for this plant would be a location where it can receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily, though it will tolerate some light afternoon shade. Avoid deep shade, as insufficient light can lead to leggy growth and fewer leaves.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Kohuhu thrives in temperatures between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and can tolerate a range of conditions. It can survive brief frosts but may be damaged by prolonged exposure to temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideal conditions promote lush growth and healthy foliage.

  • scissorsPruning

    Kohuhu should be pruned to maintain its shape, promote denser growth, and remove any dead or diseased branches. The best time for pruning is late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Pruning can be done annually, or as needed to keep the plant looking tidy and to encourage a fuller appearance.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Kohuhu prefers well-draining soil with a mix of potting soil, peat, and perlite or sand to aid in drainage. The ideal soil pH is slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 5.5 to 7.5.

  • plantRepotting

    Kohuhu should be repotted every two to three years or when the roots outgrow the pot, during the spring or early summer for best results.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Kohuhu thrives in moderate humidity levels and does not require high humidity; average room humidity is typically sufficient for this plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Kohuhu in bright, indirect light and avoid overwatering.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Kohuhu in well-draining soil, protect from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      8-10 USDA.

  • circleLife cycle

    Pittosporum tenuifolium, commonly known as Kohuhu, begins its life as a seed, often germinating in spring when soil moisture and temperature conditions are favorable. The seedling stage follows, characterized by the development of cotyledons (seed leaves) and true leaves, as the plant establishes its root system. As it enters the vegetative growth phase, Kohuhu rapidly forms a shrub-like structure with dense, glossy green foliage and a branching habit, a stage that can continue for several years. Flowering typically occurs in late spring to early summer; the small, honey-scented, purple-colored flowers develop at branch tips. After pollination, usually by insects, the flowers develop into seed capsules, which when mature, split open to release numerous seeds for propagation. The mature plant may undergo cycles of growth, flowering, and seed production for many years, capable of reaching several meters in height if the conditions are optimal.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method for propagating Pittosporum tenuifolium, commonly known as Kohuhu, is through semi-hardwood cuttings. This technique is typically performed in the late summer. To propagate by cuttings, healthy, disease-free branches are chosen, and a cutting about 4 to 6 inches (approximately 10 to 15 centimeters) long is made. The lower leaves are removed, and the cut end is often dipped in rooting hormone to encourage root development. The cutting is then placed in a well-draining potting mix, ensuring at least two sets of leaf nodes are below the surface of the soil. The soil should be kept moist, but not waterlogged, and the cuttings should be placed in a warm area with indirect light. Roots usually develop within a few weeks, after which the cutting can be transplanted into a larger pot or directly into the garden.