Help save the Florida Torreya

myrtleoak(z7 TN)December 26, 2007

The Florida Torreya is an endangered species native to a very restricted area of NW Florida. Visit the site below and see how you can participate in the "assisted migration" of this species to TN (especially east TN highlands).

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I'll take some if they want to ship them to me. How bad do they stink?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 12:32AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Native habitat = zone 8B
Estimated hardiness = zone 8A

It might survive a while here, but I think I better leave this one for the palm people.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 10:55AM
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Not so sure about that one Brandon it looks to me like the only stand that has reintroduced it's self to the wild is at Biltmore estate and it gets quite a bit colder there for a longer duration than it does here. According to the web sit they probably evolved in this area and were forced into the FL panhandle by the last ice age. The same is true for a lot of plants that we have no issues growing.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 11:43AM
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Soeur(z6b TN)

Actually, I think Torreya taxifolia can be hardier than conventional wisdom indicates. The native plant nursery where I worked has one and it does fine in a protected spot about 1/2 way down an east facing slope. It isn't in native soil, however, it's in a container of very old commercial bark mix under irrigation, and it gets a hit of slow-release fertilizer once or twice a year. The plant grows in deciduous shade with red and bottlebrush buckeyes. The nursery overall is in a cold area, Z6b for the hilltops, Z6a for the hollows. All this suggests that the right microclimate and (as with so many things) good drainage makes a huge difference. I'd think E. TN would have plenty of places where this plant could thrive. Relict populations like Torreya can have more flexibility than suggested by their home territory. Culture, especially soil type, often matters more than temperature. I'd liken this plant's needs to, say, Illicium parviflorum: well-drained mesic, moderately acid, Z7 and protected from winter winds.

I've propagated a good number of these plants and it doesn't stink at all IMO. Our forefathers often gave stupid and unimaginative names to plants. Each needle has a very sharp tip, though, and it'll bite ya if you're not careful in handling it. Tip pruning produces quite a handsome shrub over time.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 11:52AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Sounds like you guys are right. The zone rating people sure missed it on this one. T. taxifolia does seem to be totally "at home" in Ashville which has historically had winter temperatures very close to Knoxville. Our summers have been hotter, and our temperatures are trending up. Our temperatures are becoming more like Florida than the location where the trees are doing well now.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 9:23PM
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Marty as usual half to three-quarters of what you say goes right over my head. But it sure is great to see ya!!! How are you doing? How's the business? Shoot me an email when you get time please. Lavonne and I are always thinking about ya and keep you in our prayers.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 10:00PM
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myrtleoak(z7 TN)

It appears that the population is not suited for its location, but cannot migrate north. I would put this one at 6a probably. It is growing well and apparently becoming naturalized in several areas of the NC highlands. My guess would be that Asheville is about 1/2 zone colder that Knoxville, probably 7a in recent years. I am unsure of the exact loaction of the other plantings in this area, but I would not be surprised to find them in areas that are still 6b or so (formerly 6a?). Also, the native population is found growing with the Florida Yew. Though I know little about this exact species, most Taxus spp. or more or less some type of zone 6("true" yews, not podocarpus). Apparently these two species hang on in a very small area of sheltered cove near the Appalachacola (I know I misspelled that one) River. Nonetheless, I would like to see some of these planted in Knoxville. I forsee no hardiness problems.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 2:43AM
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