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Mystery Plant Identity Revealed

Mystery Plant Identity Revealed

Posted 22 August 2010 | By | Categories: Gardening, Links, Plants | Comments Off on Mystery Plant Identity Revealed

pittosoporumcrassifolium2-1.jpg

A while back, I sent out a question via Twitter to see if anyone could identify this plant I was seeing explode all over the neighborhood. I asked everyone I passed on my walks if they knew and still couldn’t find the answer, so I printed out the pictures and took them to a meeting of the Wellington Botanical Society for help. (Thank you BotSoc!) I’m pleased to present you these images of Karo, also known as Pittosporum crassifolium.

Though Karo is naturally coastal, it’s apparently new to find it farther South than Poverty Bay. It seems to be doing very well this year on Wellington’s Eastern peninsula. It certainly sounds like a good match for the conditions. According to Trees for Survival, a site with good resources on New Zealand native plants, it’s an excellent shelter plant that’s extremely resistant to wind, and particularly good near the
coast where salt spray makes it hard for other plants to establish.

In traditional Maori medicine, a gum is extracted from the bark and used by itself or together with that of pūhā (Sonchus species) as a cure for bad breath, sore gums or other ailments of the mouth.

Karo - Pittosporum Crassofolium

Karo - Pittosporum Crassofolium near Tarakena Bay

How to identify your own mystery plants

Recently I’ve received a few personal plant ID requests I didn’t recognize – this is one area where all of us is definitely better than one of us. Harness the power of crowdsourcing and cognitive surplus by posting your image and question to a forum for identifying specific plants or a regional botanical or gardening group. Here are some active ones that might be helpful: