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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles
'Torreya californica' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
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A tree 50 to 70 ft high in California (rarely 100 ft), with a straight, erect trunk and whorled branches; branches horizontal; branchlets pendulous, bearing the leaves in two flattish ranks. Leaves spreading at angles of 45° to 70° to the twig, 11⁄2 to 3 in. long, about 1⁄8 in. wide, slightly convex, linear, with a slender spine-tipped point, dark glossy green above, yellowish green with a glaucous band of stomata each side the midrib beneath. The foliage as a whole is hard, stiff, and well armed by the needle-like points. Male flowers egg-shaped, 1⁄3 in. long, pale yellow. Fruit olive-like green, ultimately streaked with purple, about 11⁄2 in. long by 1 in. wide, a thin, resinous flesh covering the grooved shell of the seed. Bot. Mag., t. 4780.
Native of California, where it is widely spread in the forest region but nowhere common; introduced in 1851. This interesting and handsome tree is hardy and has borne fertile seed as far to the north-east as Peterborough, but the majority of the largest specimens are in the Atlantic zone. Among those measured recently by Alan Mitchell are: Mells Park, Dorset, 72 × 73⁄4 ft (1975); Tortworth, Glos., pl. 1861, 39 × 91⁄4 ft (1973); Tregothnan, Cornwall, 69 × 101⁄4 ft (1971); Benmore, Argyll, 40 × 81⁄2 ft (1976); Castlewellan, Co. Down, 56 × 101⁄4 ft (1976).
specimens: Sotterley Hall, Suffolk, pl. 1936, 46 × 43⁄4 ft (1985); Mells Park, Dorset, 72 × 73⁄4 ft (1975); Streatham Hall, Devon, 50 × 91⁄2 ft and 65 × 101⁄2 ft at 3 ft (1983); Tregothnan, Cornwall, 72 × 103⁄4 ft (1985); Benmore, Argyll, 46 × 83⁄4 ft (1983); Stonefield, Argyll, a procumbent plant 93⁄4 ft in girth (1981); Castlewellan, Co. Down, 66 × 103⁄4 ft (1982).