Scientific: Pittosporum angustifolium (formerly Pittoposrum phillyraeoides)
Common: weeping pittosporum, gumbi gumbi
Family: Pittosporaceae
Origin: Australia

Pronounciation: Pit-to-SPOR-um an-gus-ti-FOL-i-um

Hardiness zones
USDA 8-11

Landscape Use: Informal background screen, informal hedge, single or multi-trunk small tree casting a filtered light shade, sillouhette, night time accent with uplighting. Suitable for patio gardens and xeric landscape design types in Phoenix.

Form & Character: Upright and pendulous, very open loose and informal.

Growth Habit: Evergreen woody perennial, rapid upright growth to 30 feet in height with young stems that are twisted and strongly pendulous (weeping).

Foliage/texture: Sparse, narrow linear light green leaves, sessile, glaborous and waxy to 3 inches in length, trunk usually light colored and smooth; fine texture.

Flowers & fruits: Small fragrant pale yellow flowers in clusters, axillary near stem terminus, followed by the classicly distinct pittosporum multicarpulate fruit with orange to red sticky seeds.

Seasonal color: Pale yellow flowers create a subtle accent during March. Fruit give a similar modest accent during late summer.

Temperature: Hardy of both Phoenix heat and cold.

Light: Full sun

Soil: Tolerant of alkaline desert soils.

Watering: Drought tolerant, though during Phoenix summera supplemental water is a necessity.

Pruning: Weeping pittosporum should be trained rigorously when young to develop an upright habit with a strong support trunk and branch structure. Otherwise, occassional thinning cuts to eliminate low hainging small branches is typically all that is needed. Do not overly thin the crown of this light canopied tree as that might make it susceptible to sunscald.

Propagation: Seed

Disease and pests: Weeping pittosporum is usually disease and pest free in Phoenix.

Additional comments: Weeping pittosporum has a relatively narrow habit which makes this a fine upright small tree for narrow urban spaces. It does occassionally reseed in Phoenix landscapes near sources of water such as drip irrigation emitters. In Phoenix, this pendulous "Aussie" tree was more popular in the last century than it is today.

A special econote: In its native Australia, weeping pittosporum is a dry rainforest or softwood scrub species that is favorite fodder for cattle. It is a traditional medicinal plant of Australian aboriginal tribes. Pittosporum is a large genus with over 100 different species.