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California Nutmeg

California Nutmeg

California Torreya Torreya californica, Crystal Cave trail, Sequoia National Park, California, USA. 
Attribution: Sandy__R from Scotland, UK [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Torreya_californica_Crystal_Cave_1.jpg

Information

Latin (group) name: Torreya
Latin (specific) name: Torreya Californica Torrey
Average max height: 30' to 50'
Average diameter: 6" to 20"
Associated state: none
Category: American Woods
The Softwoods - Conifers

Growth Range Map

Torreya Californica Range Map


The Tree

California Nutmeg is one of the two species of so-called “stinking cedars” in this country. It is of the Yew family, pungent, aromatic and obtains its name from the resemblance of its thin-fleshed, pale yellowish-green seed-kernel to that of a nutmeg. The skin of this fruit is resinous and tough. The tree is usually of small size 35 to 50 feet high with a long twisted or irregular bent trunk 6 to 20 inches in diameter. Larger trees are sometimes found. The spreading branches are slender, and although they extend almost horizontally from the trunk, the tree is usually well shaped with a rounded crown. The ashy or yellowish-brown scaly bark is checked with fine furrows and is about one-half inch thick. The lance-shaped needles are stiff, flat and sharply pointed and when bruised (also true of the young bark) give off an ill-smelling, fetid odor from which the name “stinking cedar” or “stinking yew” is derived.

california nutmeg foliage
California Nutmeg Foliage

Common Names in Use

  • California Nutmeg (Calif.)
  • California False Nutmeg (Calif., lit.)
  • California Torreya (Calif.)
  • Coast Nutmeg (Calif., lit.)
  • Nutmeg Tree (Calif.)
  • Stinking Cedar
  • Yew (Idaho)

Growth Range

This rather uncommon tree is found only in California along the borders of mountain streams of the Coast Range, from Santa Cruz County to Mendocino County and in the central and northern portion of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Another species of Torreya is also found in Georgia and Florida

The Wood

The wood of California Torreya or Nutmeg very much resembles pine. It is soft, fine and close-grained, coarse but uniform in texture, moderately light in weight, clear light-lemon yellow in color, with a narrow, whitish to yellowish-white sapwood. It has no outstanding figure. It has an unpleasant pungent odor but, like the pine, is easily worked with tools.

145. Torreya Californica Torrey
145. Torreya Californica Torrey

Uses

This is so rare that little if any use is made of it except in the local zones in which it is found. Where available, it is used for fence posts because of its extreme durability in contact with the soil. However, this wood has very good working qualities and an unusual color which should make it attractive for experimental use by the Home Craftsman in localities where the wood may be obtained.

File References

  ID T Name Size Last modified Actions
430 Torreya Californica Torrey
California Torreya Torreya californica, Crystal Cave trail, Sequoia National Park, California, USA.
Attribution: Sandy__R from Scotland, UK [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Torreya_californica_Crystal_Cave_1.jpg
365.25 KB 08-24-2019
431 Torreya Californica Range Map
34.40 KB 08-24-2019
432 145. Torreya Californica Torrey
Romeyn B. Hough's American Woods, Volume VI plate 145
Reference: Plate_145.Jpg (JPEG Image, 1862 × 2680 Pixels) - Scaled (34%). https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/specialcollections/forestry/hough/vlgimage/plate_145.jpg. Accessed 25 Aug. 2019.
294.03 KB 08-24-2019
433 California Nutmeg Foliage
Reference: Torreya Californica (California Nutmeg). https://www.uniprot.org/taxonomy/89482. Accessed 25 Aug. 2019.
104.73 KB 08-24-2019

Bibliography


  • Shelley E. Schoonover (American Woods) 1951 (Watling & Co. ) Santa Monica, CA 

Contributors to this page: admin .
Page last modified on Friday August 30, 2019 07:06:58 PDT by admin.