Garrya is a genus of flowering plants in the family Garryaceae native to Mexico, the western United States, Central America and the Greater Antilles.[1] Common names include silk tassel and tassel bush.[2][page needed]

Garrya catkins in February at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Garryales
Family: Garryaceae
Genus: Garrya
Douglas ex Lindl.
  • Fadyenia Endl.

They are evergreen dioecious wind-pollinated shrubs growing to 1–5 m (3–16 ft) tall. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, and are simple, leathery, dark green to gray-green, ovate, 3–15 cm (1–6 in) long, with an entire margin and a short petiole. The flowers are gray-green catkins, short and spreading when first produced in late summer; the male catkins becoming long (3–20 cm (1–8 in)) and pendulous in late winter when shedding pollen; the female catkins usually a little shorter and less pendulous. The fruit is a round dry berry containing two seeds.[3]


Cultivation and usesEdit

Some species, notably Garrya elliptica, are widely cultivated in gardens for their foliage and the catkins produced in late winter. They are frequently grown against a wall, or as a windbreak in coastal areas.[4] Male plants are more widely grown, as their catkins are longer and more attractive; one such cultivar, G. elliptica 'James Roof', has catkins up to 35 cm (14 in) long. The hybrids G. × issaquahensis (G. elliptica × G. fremontii) and G. × thuretii (G. elliptica × G. fadyenii) have been bred for garden planting.


  1. ^ a b Govaerts, R. "Garrya Douglas ex Lindl". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens.
  2. ^ Gledhill, David (1996) [1989]. The Names of Plants (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521366755.
  3. ^ Dahling, Gerald V. (1978). "Systematics and evolution of Garrya". Contributions from the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University. Harvard University Herbaria (209): 1, 3–104. JSTOR 41764821.
  4. ^ Brickell, Christopher; Royal Horticultural Society (2008). RHS A–Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Vol. 2 (3rd ed.). United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 1128. ISBN 978-1405332965.

External linksEdit