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You are here >1Up Info > Wildlife, Animals, and Plants > Plant Species > Tree > Species: Torreya californica | California Torreya

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SPECIES: Torreya californica | California Torreya
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : Commercial harvesting of California torreya is almost nonexistant due to scant availability. It was logged on a limited basis in the past, especially where growing in association with redwood, but was never an important timber species. The fine-grained yellow-brown wood is, however, highly attractive and of good quality. It is strong and elastic, smooth in texture, polishes well, and emits a fragrance similar to that of sandalwood [3]. It is highly durable. Trees cut over 100 years ago have been found lying on the ground with little rot [17]. The wood was historically used for making cabinets, wooden turnware, and novelty items; and for fuel and fenceposts [3]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Various animals eat California torreya seeds [21]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : California torreya provides watershed protection and increases wildlife habitat diversity [3,21]. Sites where it has been eliminated or reduced in numbers would benefit from repopulation. Historical records of such sites are sparse, but a few are known. Logging during the early 1900's eliminated California torreya from the Vaca Mountains of Napa and Solano counties, and considerably reduced populations in the Santa Cruz Mountains and lower Russian River area of Sonoma County [3]]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : California torreya is sometimes planted as an ornamental, but the disagreeable odor of the needles detracts from its desirability. The seed oil has potential use in cooking, being similar in quality to olive and pine-nut oils. Seeds of a related Asian species, Torreya nucifera, are harvested in Japan for rendering into high-quality cooking oil. California torreya seeds are edible, reportedly tasting somewhat like peanuts [4]. The seeds were a highly esteemed food of California Indians. In addition, Indians used the tree roots for making baskets [4], and the wood for making bows [18]. Unlike Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia), a related species, California torreya is not harvested as a source of taxol [1] because it produces taxol in only extremely small quantities. It is used as a control, however, when testing other species with potential for taxol production [22]. MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : If thinning of California torreya stands is necessary, care should be taken to preserve both male and female trees as near to each other as possible in order to facilitate natural regeneration [24]. Favorable sites for potential natural regeneration such as canyon bottoms and lowland flats are unlikely to support seedlings if there is heavy logging or other disturbance above catchment areas [3].

Related categories for Species: Torreya californica | California Torreya

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Information Courtesy: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Fire Effects Information System

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