Atlanta Botanical Garden
“What’s new for Torreya taxifolia, North America’s rarest conifer?”
Emily Coffey, PhD, Ron Determann, Rebecca Byrd, and Carrie Radcliffe
One of the rarest conifers in the world is the Florida Torreya (Torreya taxifolia). It is endemic to northwest Florida and extreme southwest Georgia. A catastrophic decline in this species occurred in the mid-20th century as reproductive-age trees were killed by an until-recently-unknown disease, Fusarium torrayae. The species has not recovered and is now less than 0.22 percent of the original population. These remaining trees continue to be endangered by changes in hydrology, deer browsing, continued loss of reproduction capability, and fungal disease. Atlanta Botanical Garden has set up an in situ and ex situ seed experiment as part of the recovery effort for this rare tree.
Emily Coffey, PhD