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Garrya elliptica

Previously known as:

  • Garrya lindleyana
Phonetic Spelling
GAR-ree-uh ee-LIP-tih-kuh
Description

Silk tassel bush is a flowering evergreen shrub in the silktassel (Garryaceae) family that is known for its showy cascading flowers.  It is native to the coastal ranges in California and Oregon and is found growing on slopes below 2000 feet. The plant will grow 6-8 feet as a shrub and up to 20 feet if grown as a tree. It is multibranched and as a shrub has a spherical form. 

Separate male and female plants occur. The male plants have long dangling showy catkins up to 12 inches long. The showy dried bracts stay on the plant through summer. The female catkins are shorter-about 2-3 inches long and both bloom late winter to early spring. If both plants are present the female will produce grape-like clusters of fruit that are attractive to birds. The leaves are shiny and leathery with wooly hairs on the undersides.

This shrub can be used as a hedge or screen and is often seen growing against walls. Provide this plant with some protection from hot afternoon winds to prevent leaf scorch. It isn't too picky about soil as long as it is well-drained. It prefers moderately moist soil but will tolerate drought once established and is resistant to deer.

This shrub will not do well in the hot humid southeast.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems but watch for leaf spot.

 

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Evie'
    Denser male shrub
  • 'James Root'
    Especially long flowers. Male shrub
'Evie', 'James Root'
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#small tree#interesting bark#wildlife plant#low maintenance#winter interest#windbreak#hedges#fast growing#buffer#deer resistant#glossy leaves#children's garden#cascading flowers#playground plant#screening#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#food source summer#food source fall#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#shrub borders
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Evie'
    Denser male shrub
  • 'James Root'
    Especially long flowers. Male shrub
'Evie', 'James Root'
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#small tree#interesting bark#wildlife plant#low maintenance#winter interest#windbreak#hedges#fast growing#buffer#deer resistant#glossy leaves#children's garden#cascading flowers#playground plant#screening#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#food source summer#food source fall#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#shrub borders
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Garrya
    Species:
    elliptica
    Family:
    Garryaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The Yurok Native American tribe would use tools made from this wood to scrape mussels off of rocks.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Native to coastal ranges in California and Oregon
    Distribution:
    In CA, Coast Ranges from Ventura Co. n. to Lincoln Co., OR
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds enjoy the fruits.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Buffer
    Screening
    Dimensions:
    Height: 7 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 7 ft. 0 in. - 16 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Grape-like clusters of fruits. Individuals are 1/4 inch wide, starting out green and then turning pubescent with purple-gray hairs.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Winter
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Female catkins are 2-3 inches long and are silver-grey. The gray-green male catkins are 8-12 inches long and are much showier. The dried bracts remain on the plant well into summer as light gray decorations.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Opposite, elliptical to ovate leaves that have a tough leathery feel, glossy green on top, but paler and duller, with wooly hairs on the underside. They are 1.5 to 3 inches long
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Green
    Light Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Bark is smooth greenish-brown when young and rough brown with age
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are green and stout and mature to brown
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Small Tree
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer