Goal: Apply Knowledge Globally Detecting the pathogen that stalks the Florida torreya, a critically endangered tree
Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia) is a critically endangered conifer with a very limited range in the U.S. A canker disease caused by the fungus Fusarium torreyae is suspected as the cause of its current decline. SRS scientists developed an accurate method for detecting this pathogen. The new detection method will be critical to restoration and preservation efforts – it will allow plant material to be tested for the pathogen before it is planted in new, non-infected locations.
Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia) is a critically endangered conifer with a very limited range in the U.S.: two counties in northern Florida and one in southwest Georgia, along the Apalachicola River. The species was once abundant in its small native range. However, in the late 1950s to early 1960s approximately 99 percent of Florida torreya trees died. Recently, a canker disease caused by Fusarium torreyae was identified as the primary cause of current Florida torreya decline.
Efforts to restore and preserve the species in situ and ex situ are hampered by lack of pathogen-free planting stock. Methods to verify whether the pathogen is present in seeds and seedlings will make restoration efforts much more effective. SRS researchers developed a new diagnostic method that enables detection of the pathogen and allows conservation programs to ensure germplasm is free of the pathogen prior to planting.
- Principal Investigator
- Tyler Dreaden, Plant Pathologist
- 4160 - Forest Genetics and Ecosystems Biology, Forest Health Research and Education Center
- Strategic Program Areas
- Invasive Species
- Resource Management and Use
- Detection method for Fusarium torreyae the canker pathogen of the critically endangered Florida torreya, Torreya taxifolia
- CompassLive Article
- Detecting the Pathogen That Stalks the Endangered Florida Torreya
- External Partners
- Jason Smith - University of Florida
- Tania Quesada - University of Florida
- Atlanta Botanical Garden