New Zealand Status: Endemic
Conservation Status: Not Threatened
Pittosporum crassifolium, commonly called Karo, is a small tree or shrub native to New Zealand. It's original distribution was the top half of the North Island but it has naturalised throughout New Zealand and overseas in Norfolk Island and Hawaii. Mature trees grow to about 5 metres in height.
Karo has dense dark gray-green leathery leaves that have a furry tormentum underneath. An early coloniser, Karo is able to withstand high winds and salt spray. Clusters of small red to purplish flowers appear in spring and develop into seed pods that split to expose the sticky black seeds. The seeds are easily spread by birds and in areas south of its natural range it has become a pest plant.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader