Torreya grandis

Torreya grandis
Not evaluated (IUCN 2.3)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cephalotaxaceae or Taxaceae
Genus: Torreya
Species: T. grandis
Binomial name
Torreya grandis
Fortune ex Lindl.

Torreya grandis (Chinese: 香榧(pinyin=Xiāngfěi) is a species of conifer in either the family Taxaceae, or Cephalotaxaceae. T. grandis is a large tree that can attain height of 25 metres (82 ft), and possibly as high as 39 metres (128 ft).[1] T. grandis is endemic to eastern and south-eastern China; it is found in the coastal provinces Fujian, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu, as well as in Anhui, Guizhou, Hunan, and Jiangxi inland. Its natural habitat are mountains and open valleys, often by streams, between 200–1,400 metres (660–4,590 ft) ASL.[2] One common name is Chinese nutmeg yew[3] (although it is not related to nutmeg, and the true yews belong to the genus Taxus), which relates to its edible seeds (Chinese: 榧榧) and yew-like foliage. The seeds can be pressed for oil. The wood is used in construction and furniture.[2] T. grandis is used as an ornamental tree in Europe and North America.[1]

Although known and utilized by the Chinese for centuries, the first European to discover Torreya grandis was Robert Fortune, who was hiking in the mountains of northeast Zhejiang in search of seeds, particularly those of "golden pine-tree" (Larix kaempferi). Encountering first two young cultivated trees, he managed to get guided to a valley with mature trees and purchased the seeds.[4] The seeds brought to England could be grown successfully there.[5]

Torreya grandis cv. Merrillii is a cultivar with a history going back to Tang Dynasty. It is believed to originate from the mountains of NE Zhejiang.[6]


  1. 1 2 Christopher J. Earle (2011). "Chamaecyparis". The Gymnosperm Database. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  2. 1 2 Liguo Fu, Nan Li & Robert R. Mill. "Torreya grandis". Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  3. Eckenwalder, J.E. 2009. Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press.
  4. Fortune, Robert (1857), A Residence Among the Chinese; Inland, On the Coast and at Sea; being a Narrative of Scenes and Adventures During a Third Visit to China from 1853 to 1856, including Notices of Many Natural Productions and Works of Art, the Culture of Silk, &c (PDF), London: John Murray
  5. "New plants: Torreya grandis". The Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette (47 (November 21)): 788–789. 1857.
  6. LI Zhang-ju; CHENG Xiao-jian; DAI Wen-sheng; ZENG Yan-ru (2005). "Origin of Torreya grandis 'Merrillii'". Journal of Zhejiang Forestry College.

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