1 Torreya Nut Tree: 2 years old - current height: 40-60 cm
Common names : Torreya Nut, Japanese Torreya, Kaya Nut, Japanese Nutmeg-Yew
Scientific name : Torreya nucifera
Family : Taxaceae
Plant history & use:
Japanese Torreya, or Torreya nut, originates from Japan where it is used in the same way T. grandis is used in China - nuts are roasted and eaten or pressed for their vitamin-rich oil. The wood is also used for special purposes - read below...
The wood from the Japanese Torreya is considered to be the most valuable wood for making the boards and pieces for the game Go . The wood is appreciated thanks to its beautiful yellow-gold color, fine and uniform ring structure and the specific sound of the click of a stone (piece) against its surface.
The tree is protected in Japan due to its scarcity due to previous over-harvesting. Only the ancient (200-800 years old) Japanese Torreya trees are considered suitable for making the thick Go boards - making them highly prized. The finest boards can cost over $19,000.
The wood is also considered to be resistant to contact with water. Water buckets are made from the wood.
It is also a traditional medicinal plant in Korea where the nuts are highly valued for their antiparasitic properties. Even in modern times, the tree has been used successfully in scientific research where several plant parts such as leaves - and nuts - are considered to have an inhibitory effect on the replication of viruses. (Please do your own research if you are interested.)
The oil from pressed nuts is burned during meditation in Japanese Buddhism.
The nuts are described as having a pleasant, sweet and slightly resinous, aromatic taste.
To top it all, the tree is very beautiful when it has grown to its size, it takes on a classic and awe-inspiring appearance with age.
The Torreya nut grows 15-25 meters high and can have a wide trunk of 1.5 meters in diameter.
Thrives in most soils, preferably on the more acidic (pH) and moist side. Does not like to stand in places exposed to strong winds, so a more sheltered position is recommended. Thrives in places with high humidity, or in moist soil along a river bank. similar. Grow in partial shade.
Hardy down to -18ºC.
Most individuals seem to have both male and female flowers - which are needed to produce fruit. However, each individual seems to lean towards having a significant majority of either male or female flowers. So certainly one individual should be sufficient for the production of nuts, although production would probably have benefited in the presence of two individuals.
Plant position: partial shade
Height: 15-25 m
Growing zone: approx. 1-3