Florida torreya Taxaceae Torreya
taxifolia Arn. symbol: TOTA
Leaf: Evergreen, linear-lanceolate flat needles, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, two-ranked when produced in the shade, stiff with a very sharp point, shiny green above and 2 pale lines below. Strong odor when crushed.
Flower: Species is dioecious; male flowers are small, elliptical, pale yellow, and occur at the base of the leaves; female flowers are tiny, consisting of an ovule surrounded by a fleshy sac and are borne on current year twigs, appear in early spring.
Fruit: A fleshy aril, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long; similar to a very large olive with a fleshy, leathery outer green covering and an inner, yellow-brown, thick walled seed. Takes two years to mature.
Twig: Slender, green when young turning reddish brown as they mature.
Bark: Mature bark is thin, orange-brown with shallow, irregular fissures and shreddy strips.
Form: Now only found as a sprouting shrub reaching a few feet tall. It once reached heights of 50 to 60 feet and over 1 foot in diameter with a conical or rounded crown depending on age.
Looks like: California nutmeg - English yew - Chinese plum-yew
Additional Range Information: Torreya taxifolia is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting.
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS FEIS Silvics - USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2018 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range maps courtesy USGS from USDA "Atlas of United States Trees" by Elbert L. Little, Jr., Vol. 1 (1971) 3 (1976) 4 (1977) 5 (1978)