The first time I saw this plant it seemed like something from sci-fi scenery. But it is real no matter how strange looking. Garrya elliptica Douglas ex Lindl. is also referred to as Garrya lindleyana A. Murray bis. It is native to California and Oregon in North America. It is also commonly known as Silk Tassel Tree or Silk Tassel Shrub. It belongs to the Garryaceae family of plants.
Garrya elliptica Douglas ex Lindl. is an evergreen shrub. It is named after Nicholas Garry (1782-1852). He was a British trader with the Hudson’s Bay Company. He assisted David Douglas (1799-1834), a Scottish botanist, in exploring the Pacific Northwest. Douglas made three trips to North America. The second trip was to Pacific Northwest from 1824-27.
Garrya elliptica Douglas ex Lindl. grows as tall as 13ft or 4m. It flowers from November to February. The flowers are of only one sex on each tree. The flowers resemble silk tassels. They are greenish-gray in color. They can be as long as 35cm or 14in.
Plant Garrya elliptica Douglas ex Lindl. in any soil as long as it is well-drained. Grow in the sun, partial shade, or full shade. Garrya elliptica Douglas ex Lindl. tolerates drought. It also tolerates maritime exposure as well as pollution. It does not require much pruning. Trim to shape it. Propagate by cuttings in summer. It is generally disease-free and pest-free. It is rabbit-resistant and deer-resistant.
Garrya elliptica Douglas ex Lindl. leaves are used in traditional medicine as a quinine substitute as it induces menstruation.