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Wavyleaf Silktassel
Garrya elliptica

About Wavyleaf Silktassel (Garrya elliptica) Garrya elliptica (Coast silk-tassel) is a common evergreen shrub native to the coastal ranges of California and southern Oregon, south to Los Angeles County. It reaches a height of two to five meters. It is one of a small biological family of approximately twenty known species in the family Garryaceae, most of which are Garrya. Female and male sexual organs of all the Garrya are found on separate plants. This is an example of a native plant that is sufficiently attractive and neat of growing habit to be appealing as a landscape species. It is stocked at many commercial plant nurseries, and is clearly a widely used Garrya for landscape purposes. This plant is sometimes known as Silk Tassel Bush or Wavyleaf Silktassel. All Garrya are associated with warm temperate regions of North America. Coast silk-tassel (sometimes called Wavyleaf silk-tassel) has a multi-furcate branching structure yielding an almost spherical form. The height can attain five meters, but more likely averages three meters in the wild. Coast silk-tassel, as all the genus Garrya, have opposite leaves that have a tough leathery feel, glossy green on top, but paler and duller on the underside. The dioecious flowers are concentrated in flower clusters which cascade downward as aments of approximately four to six centimeters in length. While the Coast silk-tassel manifests separate male and female plants, the pendant male catkins are much more showy and are grey-green and up to 30 centimeters long; the female ones are shorter and silver-grey. Although the flowers bloom in January and February, dried leaves remain on the tree well into summer as light gray decorations. The plant has smooth dark bark, dark-greenish when young, but with age the bark roughens. New twigs are green and moderately stout. 'James Roof' is one popular horticultural variety known for its especially long tassels.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
6 - 16.4 ft (1.8 - 5 m)

Max. Width
6 - 10 ft (1.8 - 3 m)


Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate



Flower Color
White, Cream, Green

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Seacliffs, dunes, foothills below 2,000 ft. usually close to the coast where it occurs as part of northern chaparral or coastal scrub, or in the understory of evergreen forest. Also on Santa Cruz Island.

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
-97' - 5020'

Annual Precip. ?
11.8" - 91.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 2.79"

Coldest Month ?
38.4° F - 53.9° F

Hottest Month ?
55.7° F - 78.5° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 24.98 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates clay soil

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0 - 10° F

Sunset Zones ?
4, 5*, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18, 19, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
moderately easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Propagation ?
Seeds or cuttings.  For propagating by seed: 3 mos. stratification.

Common uses
Hedges, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Coast Silktassel, Silk Tassel Bush

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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