This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Yew-like shrubs or trees with regular whorled branches and distichous or scattered leaves. It differs from Taxus chiefly in the fruit, which is much larger and destitute of the succulent cup that characterises the fruit of the latter genus. The outer coat is fleshy, and the inner a hard woody shell enclosing the usually ruminated albumen of the seed, whence the name of Nutmeg applied to the Californian species. The few species described are natives of China and Japan and North America. Named in honour, of J. Torrey, of New York, a botanist of distinction. With the exception of T. grandis they emit a very powerful and unpleasant odour when bruised or burned; hence the American name, Stinking Yew.
1. T. grdndis. - A large tree with linear-lanceolate acute distichous leaves from 8 to 12 lines long, dark glossy green above, silvery beneath. Fruit oval; albumen not ruminated. A native of the mountains of North China, where it forms a beautiful spreading tree. It appears to be very rare in British gardens.
2. T. Californica, syn. T. Myristica. Californian Nutmeg Tree. - A small round-headed tree with linear-acute distichous shortly petiolate pale-green leaves about 2 inches long, and oblong green fruits about the size of an ordinary nutmeg, and with similarly ruminated albumen. It is found on the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.
3. T. nucifera. - A small tree of extremely slow growth with linear sharply-pointed scattered or distichous dark green shining leaves from 1 to 1 1/2 inch long. Fruit oblong-ovate, about 9 lines long. Native of Japan.
4. T. taxifolia. - A tree with spreading branches from 20 to 40 feet high in its native habitat, but of exceedingly slow growth in Britain. Leaves rigid, linear, very acute, yellowish green, from 1 to 1 1/2 inch long. Fruit usually more than an inch long, oblong, glaucous green. A native of Florida.