Florida Torreya

Common Name: Florida Torreya

Scientific Name: Torreya taxifolia

Origin: North Florida panhandle, southwestern Georgia

Family: Cephalotaxaceae

Bloom time: Non-blooming

This majestic evergreen is restricted to limestone bluffs and ravines along the northern Florida Panhandle and the southwestern corner of Georgia. Both the leaves and cones have a strongly pungent, resinous odor when crushed, leading to its popular names “Stinking Yew” and “Stinking Cedar." A non-native fungal pathogen introduced in the 1950s has destroyed an estimated 98 percent of mature trees, leading to reproductive failure and its listing on the federally endangered species list.

The Garden has been dedicated to protecting this imperiled species for more than 20 years. The conservation and safeguarding nursery at the Gainesville Garden is actively propagating and maintaining a Torreya collection. This has led to the Garden’s Torreya taxifolia collection being nationally recognized and the Center for Plant Conservation awarding sponsorship to the Garden in 2010. This sponsorship level designation acknowledges the outstanding work that the Garden is accomplishing on one of the world’s critically endangered plants.