Where is Florida Torreya (Torreya taxifolia)
located in the wild?
The taxon 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 of at least 160 million years old in age, species in the genus Torreya were widely distributed across the northern hemisphere during the Jurassic and Pliocene periods. Named for John Torrey, one of America's most distinguished botanists (1796-1783), this is one of the rarest native trees in the USA. Within its very limited range, it has become nearly extinct. There are no large trees left in its native habitats. What survives are a few scattered young saplings or suckers from root systems and bases of destroyed plants.
T. taxifolia is found in the understory of the rich hardwood hammock beech-magnolia and mixed hardwood forest (USFWS 1983, 1984, 1985). Canopy trees in these forests are mostly deciduous, but evergreen hardwoods and conifers are also common (USFWS 1986). This species can also grow on bluffs and woods along the Apalachicola, steep slopes of ravines (mid-slope) with nearly permanent seeps, and rises in calcareous bottoms. In Florida, Torreya species also occur in lower parts of ravine slopes and adjacent floodplains and prefers shady habitats with dark, moist sandy loam of limestone origin.
T. taxifolia ranges primarily along the east side of the Apalachicola River in Liberty County Florida northward to the southern most portion of Decatur County, Georgia (USFWS 1986).
States & Provinces:
Florida Torreya can be found in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina