Theodore Payne California Native Plant Database

Garrya elliptica

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Species Name: Garrya elliptica
Common Name: Silk-tassel bush

Excellent screen or specimen plant. Flowers appear as ornamental 3" to 8" long catkins in winter. Very showy. Garden tolerant.

Plant Family: Garryaceae
Plant Type: Shrub
Height by Width: 8-12' H x 6-10' W
Growth Habit: Large shrub
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Rate: Slow
Sun Exposure: Sun or partial shade
Soil Preference: Well-draining
Water Requirements: Infrequent to occasional
Cold Hardy to: 2,600'
Flower Season: Winter
Flower Color: White catkins
Distribution: North Coast Range, Northern Sierra Nevada Foothills, Sacramento Valley, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay, Outer South Coast Ranges
Natural Habitat: Seacliffs, sand dunes, chaparral, foothill-pine woodland


Care and Maintenance

  • From California Native Plants, Theodore Payne's 1941 catalog: "A handsome shrub with deep green leathery, opposite leaves. Of special interest on account of its flowers in catkins which often measure 12 inches in length; hence the name of 'Silk Tassel Bush.' Found on dry ridges up to 2,500 feet elevation. Gallon cans, 50c."
Other Names
  • Bornstein, Carol, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 2005.
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