silk tassel bush; wavyleaf silktassel; coast silk-tassel; rats-tail tree; catkin bush
Evergreen shrub, or sometimes a small tree with dull, dark green wavy-edged, opposite leaves that are about 4-7 cm long. Native to the coastal areas of California and southern parts of Oregon. Winter-flowering with silvery-cream male and female flowers on separate plants. Both types of flowers are arranged in clusters of catkin-like structures (tassels), the males 8-20 cm long and the female flowers about half that size. Garrya elliptica 'James Roof' (pictured) is a male form with particuarly long tassels. Fruits on female trees resemble tiny grapes,green initially, turning purplish-grey.
Prefers a sunny spot. Can be grown in any type of soil as long as it is well-draining. Tolerant of coastal conditions and pollution. Moderately frost hardy (Zones 8-9). Prune after flowering.
The photos were taken in my street where I don't really notice it for most of the year, except for the three months of winter when it puts on this impressive show of unusual flowers. Garrya elliptica would be great in a spot where you need an evergreen filler and where it can shine in winter without other attention-seeking plants. It can also be grown as a hedge either inland or on the coast.
Type of plantShrub - Evergreen
Size2.5 m-3.5 m tall, 2 m wide
Landscape Usewinter flowers; hedge; filler; coastal gardens
- Temperature: Hardy
- Light: Medium High
- Moisture: Low Medium
- Soil: Light Medium Heavy
- Wind tolerance: High
- Coastal tolerance: High