Taxaceae
The Yew Family
 
 
    The yew family is a small family which includes 3 genera and 11 species.  The plants of this family are coniferous and have dark green, linear leaves.
 
 

 Click on the links below for an introduction to a tree of this family:
 
Florida torreya
 
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Torreya taxifolia
Florida torreya
 
 

Habit

    The Florida torreya is a small tree, sometimes 30-40 feet in height, 1-2 feet in diameter.  It is characterized by a short bole and an open, pyramidal crown, composed of whorls of spreading branches.

 
 
Leaves

    Leaves are linear, 1.5 inches long, rounded at the back, 2-ranked, and persistent for several years.  The leaf apex is stout and sharp.  Leaf bases are short-stalked.  Leave surfaces are lustrous dark green above, silvery white below.  needle-like, 8-18 inches in length, 3 needles per fascicle.  Leaves occur at the ends of stout branches in dense, ball-like tufts.  Leaves are bright green, slender, flexible, and 3-sided.  These leaves begin to fall off in the second season.
 

Flowers
 
    The flowers are dioecious.  The male is solitary, with yellow stamens.  Females are also solitary and purple.
 

Fruit
 
    The fruit is 1-1.25 inch long, ovoid, consisting of a single, reddish-brown seed covered by a layer of thin, leathery, purplish flesh.
 

Twigs

    The twigs are bright green or yellow-green, pubescent, becoming reddish-brown and smooth.
 

Bark

    The bark is irregularly fissured and scaly, dark brown, and often tinged with orange.
 

Habitat

    The Florida torreya is a rare tree of local occurrence.  It grows on bluffs and slopes covered by rich, moist soils of limestone origin.  It usually occurs as an occasional tree in association with Florida yew and many hardwoods, including swamp white oak, southern Magnolia, holly, buckeyes, palmetto, beech, yellow-poplar, and redgum.  It is largely restricted to the banks of the Apalachicola River and its tributaries in western Florida.  It has also been observed in Decatur County in southwestern Georgia.
 

Use

    This tree is federally listed as endangered.  In addition to its native habitat, it can be found planted as an ornamental, particularly in Tallahassee, Florida and the vicinity.

 

Click on the links below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 

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