Herb: Tobira

Latin name: Pittosporum tobira

Family: Pittosporaceae

Description of the plant:


6 m
(20 feet)

to May


Habitat of Tobira:

Rocky hillsides by the coast.

Other uses of the herb:

Very tolerant of pruning and maritime exposure, it can be grown as a wind resistant hedge. It can be used in shelterbelt plantings.

Propagation of Tobira:

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, July/August in a frame. Poor to fair percentage. Basal ripewood cuttings late autumn in a cold frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rocky hillsides by the coast.

Medicinal use of Tobira:

None known

Known hazards of Pittosporum tobira:

This plant contains saponins. Saponins are found in many foods, such as some beans, and although they are fairly toxic to people they are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without any problem. They are also broken down if the food is thoroughly cooked for a long time. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.