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Polecat Wood

The Torreya Taxifolia is commonly known as Florida Torreya, Gopherwood, Polecat Wood, Savin, as well as Stinking Cedar

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Growing Regions

Florida torreya is endemic to three counties in northern Florida (Liberty, Gadsden, and Jackson) and extends 1 mile into Decatur County, Georgia [2,11]. The natural range of this species extends along the limestone bluffs on the eastern bank of the Apalachicola River and its tributaries for a 40-mile (64-km) stretch [14]. There is a small colony of 60 trees approximately 6 miles west of the river at a site known as Dog Pond in Jackson County [2,11]. Florida torreya is not an abundant species, and local occurrence is widely scattered along the Apalachicola River [9,11]. There is a small, introduced population of trees located in Asheville, North Carolina, on the Biltmore Estate [14].

     

General Information

The currently accepted scientific name of Florida torreya is Torreya taxifolia Arn.; it is a member of the yew family (Taxaceae) [11,17]. There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms [2].

Florida torreya is associated with oak-tupelo-cypress (Quercus-Nyssa-Cupressus) and oak-pine (Quercus-Pinus) forests on the eastern bank of the Apalachicola River [14]. The longleaf pine/wiregrass (P. palustris/Aristida stricta) sandhill community is upslope from these forests [1,21].

Much of the information presented here is attributed to:
Esser, Lora L. 1993. Torreya taxifolia. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available at USDA Forest Service.

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