Description from Flora of China
Trees to 25 m tall; trunk to 0.5(-2) m d.b.h.; bark light yellowish gray, dark gray, or grayish brown, with irregular vertical fissures. Leafy branchlets oblong-obovate in outline, 4-7 × 2.5-4 cm, axis green and glabrous in 1st year, thereafter yellowish green, light brownish yellow or pale brown. Leaves borne at (50-)60-90° to branchlet axis; petiole 0.5-1 mm; blade bright green and glossy adaxially, linear-lanceolate, usually straight, (0.7-)1.1-2.5(-4.5) cm × 2-3.5 mm, with no conspicuous grooves, midvein indistinct adaxially, (0.2-)0.5-0.7 mm wide abaxially, stomatal bands (0.2-)0.3-0.4 mm wide, marginal bands 0.5-0.7 mm wide, base obtuse or broadly rounded, ± symmetric, margin flat or very narrowly revolute, apex symmetrically or slightly asymmetrically tapered, cuspidate, cusp 0.3-1 mm. Pollen cones columnar, ca. 8 mm; bracts conspicuously ridged. Aril pale purplish brown and white powdery when ripe, apex obtuse-rounded or rounded and cuspidatae. Seed ellipsoid to ovoid, elongate-ellipsoid, obovoid, or obovoid-conical, 2-4.5 × 1.2-2.5 cm; female gametophyte tissue slightly wrinkled, not ruminate. Pollination Apr, seed maturity Sep-Nov of 2nd year.
The wood is used in constructing buildings, bridges, and furniture. The seed, known as "xiangfei," is edible and also yields an edible oil; the essential oil "torreya oil" is extracted from
Numerous variants have been recognized at the rank of variety, form, or cultivar (cf. S. Y. Hu, Taiwania 10: 23-25. 1964). Torreya grandis var. sargentii Hu appears very distinct, leaf blade: midvein very narrow, ca. 0.2 mm wide, with green belt on either side ca. 0.3 mm wide, stomatal bands very narrow, 0.2-0.25 mm wide; seed strongly obovoid, 40-45 ×
18-20 mm); however, very few specimens have been seen, so the distinctions are probably not genuine; it is included here in the synonymy of var. grandis.
* Mountains, open valleys, often by streams, on yellow, red, and dark soils; 200-1400 m. S Anhui, N Fujian, NE Guizhou, W Hunan, S Jiangsu, N Jiangxi, Zhejiang