Torreya taxifolia

Common Names:
Florida torreya, savin, stinking cedar
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Irina Kadis
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Bok Tower Gardens

The conservation of Torreya taxifolia is fully sponsored.
Irina Kadis contributed to this Plant Profile.


Torreya taxifolia is a small, conical tree of the yew family (Taxaceae) and a close relative to Taxus brevifolia from which the cancer drug Taxol is derived. T. taxifolia, or stinking cedar, is an extremely rare conifer that once towered fifty feet above the forested ravines of the Apalachicola drainage system in northern Florida (Godfrey 1968, Foote and Jones 1994). An ancient genus (at least 160 million years old), torreyas were widely distributed across the northern hemisphere during the Jurassic and Pliocene periods.

Named for John Torrey, one of the most distinguished American botanists (1796-1783), this is one of the rarest native trees in the USA: its range is very limited, and within that limited range, it has become nearly extinct. There are no large trees left in their native habitats. What survives are a few scattered young trees (sapling-size) or suckers from root systems and bases of destroyed plants. A fungal disease is the primary cause of this species plight, and remains the largest threat to its survival (USFWS 1986).

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research