Wildlife, Animals, and Plants
VALUE AND USE
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 . It is highly durable. Trees cut over 100
years ago have been found lying on the ground with little rot . The
wood was historically used for making cabinets, wooden turnware, and
novelty items; and for fuel and fenceposts .
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE :
Various animals eat California torreya seeds .
NUTRITIONAL VALUE :
COVER VALUE :
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 ].
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
The seeds were a highly esteemed food of California Indians. In
addition, Indians used the tree roots for making baskets , and the
wood for making bows .
Unlike Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia), a related species, California
torreya is not harvested as a source of taxol  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
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 . 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 .
Related categories for Species: Torreya californica
| California Torreya