Griselinia littoralis (Raoul) Raoul

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Griselinia littoralis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-12-01.


  • Pukateria littoralis Raoul

Other species in genus


(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Situated in an axil.
Organism arising via vegetative or asexual reproduction.
With only male or only hermaphrodite flowers on individual plants.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Griselinia littoralis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-12-01.

A large evergreen shrub or small tree up to 60 ft in the wild; trunk furrowed, young stems greenish yellow. Leaves leathery, oval or ovate, 1 to 412 in. long; half to two-thirds as wide (occasionally almost as broad as long), usually glossy above medium green or yellowish green, glabrous, the apex blunt, the base slightly unequal-sided but often more or less symmetrical; stalk yellowish, 12 to 34 in. long. Flowers yellowish green, small, produced during May in axillary racemes or panicles 1 to 3 in. long. Fruits oblong, 14 in. long.

Native of New Zealand up to 3,500 ft altitude; cultivated at Kew since the middle of the last century, but only hardy there in mild winters or with the protection of a wall. Perhaps the climate of the Thames Valley does not suit it, for there are many inland gardens in the southern and western parts of the country where it is hardy. It may be too that some clones are more tender than others, as might be expected in a species with such a wide range, both in latitude and altitude. In the western and south-western parts of the country it makes an excellent shelter plant against the Atlantic winds. It has no objection to chalky soils.

Being completely dioecious and usually represented in any one garden by a single clone, G. littoralis is not often seen in fruit. But at Inverewe in north­western Scotland both sexes are grown and self-sown seedlings appear in abundance.

In previous editions a tree at Kilmacurragh in Co. Wicklow was mentioned, then 20 ft high. This is now 45 ft high and 11 ft in girth at 1 ft (1966). In other western gardens, and at Wakehurst Place in Sussex, it is almost as high though of smaller girth.

G. littoralis is variable in the relative width of its leaves. The more common form, of which there are both male and female clones, has leaves on the average slightly over half as broad as long and not markedly oblique at the base. But some cultivated plants have relatively broader leaves (often almost as broad as long), more lop-sided at the base. It is likely that some plants of this character have been wrongly called G. lucida. These broad-leaved plants, like the commoner form, also occur in both sexes: those at Exbury are male, but the similar tree at Tresco Abbey in the Isles of Scilly is female. In both gardens the leaves are dull green.

G. littoralis strikes very readily from cuttings of half-ripened wood in gentle heat, or of somewhat harder wood under handlights.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

This species has attained the size of 46 × 1114 ft at 3 ft at Castle Kennedy in Wigtonshire.

cv. ‘Variegata’. – The centrally variegated sport mentioned on page 301 has occurred in several gardens and one such is marketed as ‘Dixon’s Cream’. But to state that it can be perpetuated by cuttings is over optimistic, since the resulting plants are inclined to revert to the original form with marginal variegation.


Leaves with a whitish marginal variegation which is very irregular in width and often interrupted; centre grey-green, splashed with dark glossy green. On young leaves the marginal variegation is golden and the centre bright green. This striking variety evidently derives from a broad-leaved form of the species, but from one with dark, glossy leaves. Perhaps the oldest and largest plant in the British Isles grows at Tresco Abbey in the Isles of Scilly; a handsome pair, probably propagated from it, can be seen by one of the gates of the Morrab Gardens, Penzance. A peculiarity of this variety is that it frequently produces a branch sport in which the variegation is at the centre of the leaf instead of at the margin; this can be perpetuated by cuttings.