We have several pittosporums around the house, mostly Pittosporum tenuifolium, also known as kohuhu. Kohuhu are nice hedging plants, and form lovely dense shrubs when pruned. They’re a great background plant—like mood music—a lot of nice greenery, but little character.
Until they bloom, that is.
And only at night.
Pittosporum flowers are the kind of blooms that you can walk past a hundred times a day and never see. They’re about the same colour as the branches, and sit nestled among the greenery. They attract no bees or butterflies.
But walk past the same bush in the dark, and you’re practically knocked over by the smell. Heavy and clinging, the smell must attract all the night-flying moths and beetles for miles around.
I’m generally not a fan of smelly flowers, but there’s something marvellously incongruous about pittosporum flowers—so inconspicuous during the day, so in-your-face at night. The smell has become as sign of spring for me, and I always make sure my early-morning chores take me close to one of the bushes at this time of year.