Hinton Ampner Garden

Garrya elliptica

Silk-tassel bush


The Church Border and The Orchard.


A hardy evergreen shrub, with a 4m height and spread, native to the western USA and Central America with glossy, oval, grey-green to matt green leaves, with wavy margins, a dense woolly coating underneath, and up to 8cm (3in) long. The name elliptica means elliptic, referring to the shape of the leaves. Male and female, petalless flowers are borne on separate plants, from winter to early summer, in the form of grey-green, pendant catkins, 15-20cm (6-8in). The females produce smaller catkins followed by purple brown berries, however the male catkins are more attractive.

Site and Care:

Grow in well-drained, moderately fertile soil in full sun or partial shade. Garrya elliptica prefers a sheltered spot in full sun to partial shade but it can cope with a wide range of soils, coastal conditions and pollution. Pruning, if needed, should be done in mid spring to remove shoots that spoil symmetry or dead and damaged growth. Propagation is by e semi-ripe cuttings in summer, or sow seed in a cold frame in autumn or spring.