Mature Torreya of Madison, Florida


In 2012 Dolly Ballard, a long-time resident and garden club member of Madison Florida, began to inventory the half-dozen mature Torreya trees on private properties in Madison, Florida. Apparently, in August 2012 she discovered 2 female Torreyas covered with lots of ripening seeds in a cemetery in Madison. Her nephew, Ben Duval, posted on YouTube a video of Dolly talking about the trees, and then (at 11:05) interviewing Park Ranger Mark Ludlow, on location in Torreya State Park, about the plight of the trees, which is embedded below:




2017 Site Visit by Torreya Guardians: Jack Johnston & Clint Bancroft


MARCH 2017 - Clint Bancroft reports:

I have been working on locating and getting access to the Torreyas in Madison, Florida to obtain cuttings. I received this report from the Chamber of Commerce:
Upon receiving your letter about the Torreya taxifolia trees in Madison, Florida, I did some research on this tree to see what we could find on them. I came across a documentary video on YouTube that you may have also found, in which a Madison citizen by the name of Dolly Ballard was being interviewed for information on this tree. She named a number of places throughout one area of town (between Mr. Brother's yard and Oak Ridge Cemetery) in which she said she saw these trees.

Through research, I found the trees she was speaking of, which looked a lot like the Torreya taxifolia. I emailed Superior Trees in Lee, Florida (a community of Madison) because I heard that they were making an attempt to grow the Torreya taxifolia, and wanted to check their progress on this attempt. They replied with the following email:

"We have 1g, 3g, and a couple of 15g Torreya available. These are unsexed plants grown from seed. As for the trees documented in Madison, Florida, unfortunately, they were misidentified and are in fact Monkey Puzzle trees. We saw the article in the local paper, but didn't have the heart to tell the person who wrote the article about the error. I am not sure if this is where you got your information from or not, but that is the story on that. There is one old Torreya tree in Madison that really is a Torreya (near the post office in town)."
To which we replied: "Thank you for responding. We are gathering information for a potential visitor. So even the tree at Ladel Brother's former home isn't the Torreya?"

Then Superior Trees sent: "Yes, there is a Torreya in their yard that is 'legitimate'."

So, according to our research, there appears to be a total of two Torreya in Madison County, not counting the ones planted at Superior Trees in Lee. I hope this helps. The property locations are as follows:

1. The post office (tree is near this building, not on the property itself): 197 SW Pinckney St. Madison, FL 32340

2. The property Mr. Brothers used to live at: 204 N Washington Avenue Madison, FL 32340 (on the corner of Washington & Sumter St.)

Superior Trees has some Torreya for sale. Here is their information if you would like to get in touch with them. Email: superiortrees@centurylink.net • Phone: 850-971-5159 • Address: P.O. Drawer 9400, 12493 E. US Hwy 90, Lee, FL 32059

Thank you, and good luck on your findings!

From: Front Desk


OCTOBER 2017 - Clint Bancroft took photographs during his visit to Madison with Jack Johnston. Findings:

He notes that the final photograph (closeup of branchlet) shows that this torreya is female.

They took cuttings (in order to preserve the genotype via rooting) and measured the trunk: circumference at 4-feet above ground is 72.5 inches





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