Pittosporum coriaceum is an evergreen shrub or tree that can grow around 15 metres tall.
The plant used to be harvested from the wild for local use as a source of soap. Given this species rarity, this is no longer an acceptable practice.
Pittosporum coriaceum is native only to Madiera where it has a very small and fragmented total population of between 40 - 50 individuals. The main threats to this species are the disturbance of sensitive areas, fires and landslides. Several unfavourable intrinsic factors such as a low regeneration rate further reduce its survival chances, though the population is currently stable. The plant is classified as 'Critically Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
Macaronesia - Madeira
North-facing slopes, growing in deep ravines in laurisilva forests with Ocotea foetens[
|Conservation Status||Critically Endangered
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Pittosporum coriaceum can be grown in warm temperate to subtropical climates. It is not very frost tolerant.
Pittosporum species generally grow best in a sunny position, but tolerate light shade. They succeed in most well-drained soils[
The flowers are delicately fragrant
Although flowers usually appear to be hermaphrodite, many species of Pittosporum are functionally dioecious, with individual specimens bearing mainly or totally flowers of one sex only. Even so, occasional functionally hermaphrodite flowers will appear and, in at least some species, these flowers can be self-compatible and produce fertile seed even in the absence of any other plants of that species[
The species in this genus are also very likely to hybridize with other members of the genus[
]. When growing a species from seed it is important to ensure that the seed either comes from a known wild source, or from isolated specimens in cultivation.
The plant is rich in saponins and has been used in the past as a soap substitute, though this is no longer advisable given the rarity of the species[
Seed - sow when ripe in the autumn or in late winter in a warm greenhouse[
]. The seed usually germinates freely. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, move the plants to a cold frame as soon as they are established and plant out late in the following spring[
]. Consider giving them some protection from the cold during their first winter outdoors.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 7cm with a heel, mid summer in a frame[
Basal ripewood cuttings late autumn in a cold frame[