Monday, January 31, 2011

Coast Silktassel

My acquaintance with this plant was very dramatic. I was walking across the parking lot at the beach looking back at my son (it is not a good idea not to watch where you are going), and I walked straight into it. Startled, I finally looked in front of me, and saw this:


My knowledge of coastal vegetation is still pretty slim (we live less than 40 miles inland from the Pacific, but our climate is very different). Even though we go to the beach quite often, I admit I have not noticed this plant before. Its botanical name is Garrya Elliptica, and it lives along the coast from Oregon to Southern California.



It is an evergreen shrub with rather coarse and uninteresting foliage, which only becomes striking when it displays its long flower tassels called catkins in winter.


Plants can be male and female, male catkins being longer and prettier.


It is useful as a dense screen, being salt- and drought-tolerant and not too well liked by deer. I find the contrast between coarse dark leaves and delicate, filigree-like flowers fascinating. I am glad I walked into it:-)

6 comments:

  1. Wow, that is really unusual and lovely.

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  2. Amazing. And found in a parking lot as well.... sharp eyes you have, Masha.

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  3. Thank you, Thibaud. I am glad you liked it.

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  4. Those catkins really are beautiful ~ I've never seen flowers like those before.

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  5. Thank you, Sweetbay. Neither have I!

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I am so glad you have stopped by!