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a genus of coniferous, evergreen, and usually dioecious trees or shrubs of the family Taxaceae (yew). The plants range in height from 6 to 30 m. The stiff needles are glossy dark-green, with two white bands of stomata below. The micro-strobiles are solitary, and the pollen has no air sacs. The cones, or megastrobiles, are solitary or in pairs on a short axillary branch-let. The seed, which matures in the second year, is surrounded by a reddish fleshy aril, resembling a berry. The plants yield stool shoots and root suckers. They are shade tolerant and slow-growing. Their yellowish, sturdy wood is used for furniture, boxes, and finishing work. Torreya are grown as ornamental hedges; they are propagated from seeds or cuttings.
There are six species, distributed in China, Japan, California, and western Florida. The most common species are T. nucífera, T. californica, and T. taxifolia. The seeds of T. nucífera are edible and yield an oil used by the confectionery industry. In the USSR a few species are occasionally cultivated on the Black Sea Shore of the Crimea and the Caucasus.
T. G. LEONOVA