PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Silk Tassel Bush (Garrya elliptica)

Here’s another native PNW evergreen hedging option that will lift your spirits in the dead of winter. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a hedge but it makes a spectacular one. It’s height can be variable from about 10 or 12 feet to 15 or 18 feet in the Puget Sound area. Silk Tassel Bush is native from southern Oregon through California and other parts of the mid to southern mountain west. In its southern range it can get larger.

The thing that’s worthy of shouting about is that it blooms in the middle of winter. In late autumn branch and twig tips extend with dangling greenish white catkins. These continue to elongate and by late January they are 10-12 inches long and if you look closely, they resemble creamy white rain chains. From a distance, the plant looks like it is dripping with icicles. These can last well into spring. Female plants then produce berries that look like grape clusters which the birds eventually take care of by summer.

Plants are either male or female. The males have the largest and showiest blooms. Silk Tassel Bush does not care what kind of soil it grows in, and it does fine with lots of moisture or very little. It is an evergreen multi-stemmed large shrub or small tree that serves nicely as a screening plant or as an eye-catching specimen at a property corner.