Torreya grandis Fortune ex Lindl.

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Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

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'Torreya grandis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-07-05.



Classification usually in a biological sense.


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Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Torreya grandis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-07-05.

Torreya grandis was described by Bean (B612, S518) and Krüssmann (K312). Farjon (2001) recognised four varieties within T. grandis – var. grandis, var. fargesii (Franch.) Silba, var. jiulongshanensis Z.Y. Li, Z.C. Tang & N. Kang and var. yunnanensis (W.C. Cheng & L.K. Fu) Silba – though only var. grandis appears to be established in cultivation. Var. jiulongshanensis and var. yunnanensis are both narrow-range endemics. Flora of China (Fu et al. 1999d) uses a different taxonomy, recognising two species (T. grandis and T. fargesii), each with two varieties.

var. fargesii (Franch.) Silba

T. fargesii Franch.

Torreya grandis var. fargesii is curiously unknown in cultivation. Arrowhead Alpines (2000–2008) of Fowlerville, Mississippi sell a plant under the name T. yunnanensis ‘Rock’, but mention that it probably belongs to T. grandis var. fargesii. The implication on their website is that it originated as a collection made by Joseph Rock.

var. grandis

T. grandis var. dielsii Hu (var. 'dickii' of Krüssmann 1985b)
T. grandis var. merrillii Hu
T. grandis var. sargentii Hu

Bean (1981b) recorded that Torreya grandis had been introduced by Robert Fortune in 1855, but that only two specimens were known. The one at Borde Hill, West Sussex, recorded by Bean as being 8.8 m in 1968, had shrunk to 6 m when measured in 1995 by Owen Johnson (TROBI), and its record is marked ‘doubtful’. The other specimen, at Kew, was 7.6 m in 1970 and only 8 m in 2001 when re-measured by Johnson. There have been several more recent introductions, however, and some of the plants seen are looking promising. At Arboretum Trompenburg there is a vigorous young tree forming a shapely specimen of about 6 m tall, that was fully clad in foliage to the ground when observed in 2005. This was obtained from M. Decalut of Arboretum Waasland, Belgium in 1994. In several European arboreta there are plants grown from wild-origin seed since 1995, by the German nursery Allerweltsgrün Niehues in Köln, from where it is still available. Collections have also been made by North American expeditions, from which young plants are established in the Arnold Arboretum and elsewhere. At the Morris Arboretum specimens obtained from the Arnold in 1994 are doing well, having reached 1.9 m by 2006, with good straight stems and leaders. The species is currently commercially available from several sources in North America, where it is recommended as being tolerant of heat and shade (Camellia Forest Nursery 2007–2008) as well as preferring moist alkaline soil (Piroche Plants 2000–2005).

The seeds of T. grandis are used for their oil and in medicinal preparations, both in China and the West – including, for example, a herbal remedy recommended for cleansing the colon and expelling ‘unwanted guests’ (Blessed Herbs 2004–2008); the less squeamish might use the term ‘vermifuge’ …


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