Lemonwood - Pittosporum Eugenoides

A much loved and admired New Zealand evergreen native is the small shrubby tree called a Lemonwood, or Pittosporum Eugenoides. The leaves are a shiny green and smell faintly lemony, hence its common name.

 Lemonwoods can grow to 12 meters in height.
lemonwood and hosta foliage

As with other Pittosporums, Lemonwoods are quick growing and make excellent screening shrubs. They'll also take to pruning (even severe sessions are OK) without too much sulking. The only danger for me is wet winter snow - if it settles, then the weight is too much and the branches bend and break off.

 Such beautiful veiny detail.
Pittosporum Leaf

I prefer growing Pittosporums in the garden, but I do have a Lemonwood in a half oak barrel in the driveway beside the garage. And it's thriving, in this most inappropriate place. Aha! The roots have obviously escaped from the bottom and buried themselves deeper. I do occasionally remember to water it.

 A subtle flowering shrub.
Lemonwood in Flower

Seedling Trees

The Lemonwood's leaves make a beautiful contrast alongside other foliage. And seedling trees can pop up in unexpected places. A healthy young Lemonwood used to grow right in the middle of the Pond Paddock, and looked so pretty when it was small, leafy blob. Alas, it had to be sawn down at ground level a few years ago.

I often pot up small seedling trees that I find around the garden - who knows when they may be called into planting action! Larger ones don't transplant at all easily, because they form a taproot.


In mid-spring Lemonwoods produce subtle yellow flowers, easily missed when so much else in the spring garden is happening. But camera close-ups show how beautiful these flowers are. And in winter Lemonwoods have small berry-like seeds, which do fall and germinate (but not in great numbers). The effect is quite sculptural.

So this beautiful New Zealand native shrub-tree has everything to offer the discerning gardener - foliage, flower, fragrance, and texture. And it's evergreen! There's even a silver and green variegated variety, which I also grow.

 This close-up photograph was taken by my web-master.
Lemonwood (Pittosporum) Flowers