Garrya elliptica

2 Mar

Garrya elliptica flower (27/02/2011, London)

Garrya elliptica flower (27/02/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Mid winter to early spring

Eventual Height: 4m

Eventual Spread: 4m

Hardiness: 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a

Family: Garryaceae

Garrya elliptica (27/02/2011, London)

Garrya elliptica (27/02/2011, London)

Garrya elliptica is an evergreen shrub with a dense, upright habit. It has oblong to elliptic, wavy margined leaves that range from glossy, grey green to mat and dark green. Garrya elliptica produce long, grey green, pendant catkins (up to 20cm long in the males) during the winter months, giving the plant an almost weeping appearance during inflorescence. On the female plants these are followed by spherical purple-brown berries.

Garrya elliptica, commonly know as the Silk Tassel Bush, Coast Silk Tassel or Wayleaf Silk Tassel, is native to western USA, Central America and the West Indies and is usually found in a woodland setting.

The etymological root of the binomial name Garrya is named by David Douglas after Nicholas Garry, the Secretary of the Hudson’s Bay Company who in the 1820’s assisted Douglas a great deal in his explorations of the Pacific North-West on plant collecting expeditions. Elliptica refers to the ellipse shaped leaves.

Garrya elliptica is useful to the landscape architect for its winter interest; the long lasting pendulous catkins. It can also be pruned into a very attractive tree like habit. It will not tolerate being  transplanted, therefore when proposed as part of a scheme container grown stock should always be specified. It is moderately drought tolerant once established.

Garrya elliptica flowers (30/01/2012, London)

Garrya elliptica flowers (30/01/2012, London)

Ecologically Garrya elliptica is attractive to bees for its nectar. The fruit is eaten by birds.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given the variety Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Garrya elliptica prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates a wide pH of soil.

Garrya elliptica requires little maintenance. If necessary, the removal of dead branches or formative pruning of this large shrub should be carried out in April or May.


6 Responses to “Garrya elliptica”

  1. Josh 10/09/2012 at 18:29 #

    What a fantastic plant. Where in London is that? Is it a private or public garden?

    • Davis Landscape Architecture 11/09/2012 at 07:31 #

      The photos were taken in two location, the first two in Chumleigh Gardens (which is located in Burgess Park, Southwark) and the last one in front of Sutton House, Hackney (National Trust Property). A good winter flowering plant.

      • Josh 11/09/2012 at 16:27 #

        Thanks for letting me know. I’ll be sure to pop down and have a look at it in January.

  2. Zillah Hunt 23/01/2013 at 16:12 #

    Have you got the James Root vaiety and what is the price please?

    • Davis Landscape Architecture 23/01/2013 at 16:37 #

      Zillah, we are a landscape architectural practice, we do not supply plants. I’m sure there is a nursery near you which will stock this lovely plant. Good luck.

  3. Danny McGinnis 07/02/2013 at 00:14 #

    Dang I thought you ment Davis California

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