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Golden Fragrance – Pittosporum napaulense

The skies may be threatening snow, but flower buds on our 15-gallon Pittosporum napaulense plants are promising the show below in a couple of weeks:

golden fragrance Strybing San Francisco

The fragrance of these lovely flowers will pervade the garden for weeks at a time through the year.

Golden fragrance is an evergreen, low-branching tree from the Himalayas (including Nepal as the species name indicates) that tolerates temperatures dropping occasionally into the low 20s Fahrenheit. Have you ever seen this tree in local gardens — or in the Himalayas?

Its glossy, deep green leaves remain pleasing even in phases when the tree is out of flower. Flowering can be quite extended in our cool-summer climate. We have seen it bloom in spring, summer and fall at the San Francisco Botanical Garden (Strybing Arboretum). The mind-boggling array of treats like this that we can enjoy in our climate always delights us.

Regular irrigation and normal drainage will make Pittosporum napaulense happy. Occasional applications of rich mulch or balanced fertilizer will keep it robust.  Plant it near a window, door, deck or patio for maximum enjoyment of its luxuriant charms.

Come visit in the next few weeks to imbibe its fragrance.

2 Responses to “Golden Fragrance – Pittosporum napaulense”

  1. Mike Kupietz Says:

    Is this the same tree which grows pretty much all over San Francisco, which you can smell from about 50 feet away when it’s in full flower, beginning in like February? The leaves and flowers look pretty similar. The smell is light, not cloying, but very sweet and perfumey. I’ve never been able to find someone who could tell me what that tree is… they used to grow all over where I grew up, that’s like my favorite smell in the world.

  2. jason Says:

    You got it right in your comment on the Pittosporum angustifolium post – it’s Pittosporum undulatum that perfumes San Francisco’s streets. A super-common street tree, it seems to cycle through blooming every two or three months. Right now is one of its peak times. Other pittosporums that perfume our air this time of year include the New Zealanders P. tenuifolium, P. eugenioides, P. crassifolium. and the Japanese P. tobira. The first three confine their blooming and scent-wafting pretty much to spring evenings, while certain specimens of the last species sport their soapy jasmine-smelling blossoms nine months of the year, tricked by our mild weather into a spring activity, perhaps?
    Pittosporum napaulense is pretty rare, unfortunately.

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