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Stinking Cedar Torreya

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
TOR-ee-uh
Description

Torreya is an evergreen shrub or tree in the yew family with 2 being native to North America and 4 being native to Asia. They grow 16 to 65 feet tall and can be either monoecious or dioecious. When monoecious, the pollen and seed cones are on different branches. The seeds of some types are edible and squirrels help distribute the seed by collecting and burying them. The evergreen leaves spiral around the branch but twist so they lay in two flat ranks. The seed cone is large and drupe-like with a greenish-purplish or yellowish flesh (aril) around the seed.

California nutmeg-yew is native to California and is the largest of the species reaching up to 80 feet tall. Florida nutmeg-yew is restricted to an area in the Florida panhandle in Torreya State Park.

They prefer moist but well-drained fertile soil in part to full shade and are humidity tolerant. The native Florida species is threatened by fungal diseases and may be difficult to find but has been successfully planted disease-free at Biltmore Gardens in NC.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
T. californica, T. taxifolia
Tags:
#shade tree#evergreen tree#partial shade tolerant#ornamental tree
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
T. californica, T. taxifolia
Tags:
#shade tree#evergreen tree#partial shade tolerant#ornamental tree
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Torreya
    Family:
    Taxaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Asia and North America
    Distribution:
    FL, CA, GA
    Dimensions:
    Height: 16 ft. 0 in. - 65 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 16 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The seed cone is a fleshy green drupe-like structure 3/4-1.5 inches long with a single nut-like seed inside that is edible. It matures green to purple. Pollen cones are 5-8 mm and grouped in lines on the underside of shoots.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Prickly
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The green linear leaves spiral around the shoots but are twisted so they lay in two flat rows with a sharp tip. They are 0.8-3 inches long and 3-4 mm wide. Upperside is lustrous and the underside has waxy-appearing bands parallel the midrib
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Peeling
    Bark Description:
    The bark is shallow, furrowed and peeling
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Screen/Privacy
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Humidity
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems