Gardening sheet torreya californica

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  • 1. *California Nutmeg/Stinking Yew – Torreya californica (TOR-ee-uh cal-ih-FOR-ni-cuh) Family: Taxaceae (Yew Family) Native to: Endemic to N. CA, growing in Pacific Coast Ranges and foothills of the Sierra Nevada; occurs in many diverse plant communities, including chaparral and various coastal forests such as redwood, ponderosa forests, usually in cool deeply shaded slopes and canyon bottoms. Growth characteristics: woody evergreen tree mature height: 40-60 ft. mature width: 30-40 ft. Evergreen tree that’s conical in youth, more rounded with age. Needles shiny dark green, sharp, arranged stiffly on slender branches. Resembles a miniature yew or glossy-leaved redwood in form. Plants are very aromatic – scent similar to Sandalwood, but some find it disagreeable. Mature bark is thin, gray-brown. Plants are slow-growing and live hundreds of years in the wild. Separate male, female ‘cones’, usually on separate trees. Not related to true nutmeg; so named for the appearance of the female fruits/cones which are covered like a fleshy fruit before maturity. Seeds ripen in fall; take two years to mature. Blooms/fruits: Uses in the garden: Mostly used as large specimen tree for its striking appearance, aroma. Several sometimes planted in ‘groves’ in parks and other large landscapes. Can be pruned as a hedge; used as barrier plant. Does well in large containers. Gives the feel of N. CA coastal forests. Seeds eaten by Native Californians; plant also used medicinally and for other uses. Nice wood. Sensible substitute for: Non-native yews and similar evergreens. Attracts: Excellent bird habitat: provides cover, nest sites and seeds for jays and other birds. Requirements: Element Sun Soil Water Fertilizer Other Requirement Full sun only on immediate coast; part-shade best in most gardens. Any texture – sandy to clay; prefers slightly acidic soil – pH 5.5-7.0. Moist, well-drained soils – Water Zone 2-3 to 3; likes to be misted. ½ strength fertilizer fine. Organic mulch; can allow to self- mulch. Easy to grow in the right conditions, but needs moisture (like a redwood). Does poorly in windy sites. Management: Propagation: from seed: fresh seed or cold-moist pre-treat; slow germination Plant/seed sources (see list for source numbers): 5, 8, 11 by cuttings: yes 12/3/12 © Project SOUND