Silk Tassel Family

Coast Silk Tassel © AFengler

Garryaceae (gare-ee-AY-see-ee)

Iconic Features

  • Evergreen shrubs and small trees
  • Opposite leaves
  • Dioecious, with male and female catkins

Description (Jepson)

  • Eudicotyledons (eudicots) – a major lineage of flowering plants including most plants traditionally described as dicots and generally characterized by
    • 2 seed leaves (dicotyledon)
    • Netted (reticulate) leaf venation
    • Flower parts in fours and fives
    • Pollen grains with 3 pores (tricolpate)
    • Vascular bundles in stem arranged in a ring
    • Taproot system
  • Evergreen shrubs and small trees
  • Leaves
    • Opposite (2 leaves at each junction with stem) and simple (not divided into leaflets)
    • Dark green to gray-green, leathery, ovate
  • Flowers
    • Inflorescence (flower arrangement) a catkin (long hanging cluster of small, petalless, unisexual flowers)
    • Male and female flowers on separate plants (dioecious)
    • Ovary inferior (below the attachment of other flower parts)
  • Fruit is a berry (a usually multi-seeded fruit with a fleshy ovary wall)


  • Small family of plants, commonly known as silk tassels (or silktassels)
    • Consists of 1 genus (Garrya) of 14 species found in temperate and subtropical regions of western United States, Central America, and the Caribbean
  • Scientific name from the single genus Garrya, for Nicholas Garry (c. 1782-1856), deputy governor of the Hudson Bay Company, in honor of the aid he provided to David Douglas in his 1826 exploration of the Pacific Northwest
  • Coast silk tassel (Garrya elliptica) is the only representative of this family at Edgewood

See General References

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