Celebrating the Florida Torreya Tree of Life
Building A Team to Save North America’s Most Endangered Tree Before It’s Gone
The Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia) is a critically endangered conifer endemic to the Apalachicola River drainage of the Florida panhandle and adjacent southern Georgia. The species was once a prominent member of its forest community but today less than 1% of the historic population survives, by cyclically dying back at the sapling stage, such that seeds are rarely, if ever, produced. The main cause of the decline has been attributed to a fungal disease (i.e. Fusarium torreyae) and to date there is no control strategy available. Although the species has been subject to extensive conservation interventions, its extinction in the wild is imminent.
This event aims to:
Reflect on Florida torreya and the meaning of its extinction,
Examine and discuss the opportunities for linkages between existing resources and experts to develop a plan of action,
Establish collaborations that will lead to documentation of the biodiversity associated with Florida torreya in its habitat – assembling a “Florida Torreya Tree of Life”.
March 1 & 2, 2018
Botanical Collections Manager Wellesley College Botanic Garden
Picture by Jim Gipe