Garrya elliptica Lindl.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Garrya elliptica' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-12-01.



(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Plant originating from the cross-fertilisation of genetically distinct individuals (e.g. two species or two subspecies).
Egg-shaped solid.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Garrya elliptica' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-12-01.

An evergreen shrub, or even a small tree, of vigorous, rapid growth and bushy habit, growing 6 to 12 ft high in this country (16 ft in the milder parts and higher still on a wall); young wood downy. Leaves oval to roundish, 112 to 3 in. long, half, or more than half, as wide; more or less rounded at each end, the apex terminating in a short, abrupt tip, dark shining green above, grey-woolly beneath, with curly hairs, margins wavy, but not toothed; stalk stout, woolly, 14 in. long. Flowers densely crowded on slender pendent catkins 3 to 6 in. long, in cold districts, but 1 ft or more long in warm ones, produced in a cluster towards the end of the shoot and in the leaf-axils near. Bracts silky in the male plant, cup-shaped, enclosing the base of the stamens; in the female plant longer and narrower. Fruits globular-ovoid, silky, with a thin brittle shell, enclosing two seeds embedded in a dark red juice. Bot. Mag.„ n.s., t. 220.

Native of California and Oregon; introduced by Douglas in 1828. For Garrya elliptica to be seen at its best, one must visit the gardens of Cornwall, Devon, and similar places. It becomes there 16 ft high, and as much through, and bears male catkins up to 12 in. long. It is at its best from November to February, and at that season no evergreen shrub, perhaps, is more attractive than is this when laden with a great crop of silvery grey catkins. Near London, although not so satisfactory as in the south-west, it is an excellent evergreen if a suitable spot be chosen. It does not need a rich soil nor abundant moisture, and the best possible position for it is a sunny, rather dry bank sloping south or west, and protected by other vegetation on the north and east sides. At the University Botanic Garden, Cambridge, it has lived and flourished in the open for more than seventy years. It is a bad shrub to transplant, and should be grown in a pot until given a permanent place. The male plant is much the more ornamental, the catkins of the female being only 112 to 4 in. long. Cuttings of both strike root freely if taken in late summer and given a little heat. In very cold districts this garrya will need wall protection.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

G. elliptica × G. fremontii – This hybrid now has botanical status as G. × issaquahensis C. Nelson, a name published, with a detailed history of the cross, by B. O. Mulligan and E. C. Nelson in University of Washington Arboretum Bulletin, Vol. 43, pp. 10-15 (1983).

It should be emphasised that ‘Pat Ballard’ is a clonal name and not a grex-name. The plant at Malahide Castle named by the late Lord Talbot de Malahide (d.1973) has been identified from his notes and cuttings of it have been distributed.

G elliptica × G. fremontii

This cross occurred in the garden of Mrs P. Murray of Issequh, Seattle, USA, around 1960. A female plant of G. elliptica growing in her garden set fruit and, there being no male of this species in the vicinity, Mrs Murray concluded that the pollen must have come from a nearby male plant of G. fremontii. Seeds were distributed by the University of Washington Arboretum in 1961, and from his share Lord Talbot de Malahide raised some eighteen seedlings of both sexes. A selection from these, named ‘Pat Ballard’, received an Award of Merit when shown by him in February 1971. The leaves resemble those of G. elliptica in shape, but are greener and the margins less undulate; as in G. fremontii the undersurface is glabrous except for a few long, straight, appressed hairs. The named plant is male, with catkins 5 to 6{3/4} in. long.

'James Roof'

The original plant of this clone (a male) grew in a group of seedlings at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden near Berkeley, California, and was selected for its remarkably long catkins – up to 14 in. It was named in honour of the Garden Director (Calif. Hort. Soc. Journ., Vol. 23, pp. 80-82). It has recently been introduced to commerce.