Torreya taxifolia at Mars Hill, NC

LOCATION: Mars Hill is nine miles north of Asheville, along Rt 19 east of Interstate 26. David Buckner wrote January 2017:
"We have small farm and much of it is still covered in forest. The other property that surrounds us is also family. In our forest everything of any value was dug or stripped out along time ago. So for the past 15 years we have reestablished a lot of the native flora — from ginseng to goldenseal the Carolina hemlock (which has been a chore, due to the woolly adelgid). We live 8 miles from Pisgah National Forest. Our forest is at 2,100 hundred feet; it is a cove forest facing east. We also have a mountain on the back of the place where our side goes up to 3,700 hundred feet and faces south. We have about 25 acres of forest canopy, ranging from 2,000 feet to 3,700 feet. The plot I want to use for seed is the closest to my house and it's about five acres. It is a 50 year old forest facing east on the side of a mountain."

Site of Buckner's GPS coordinates, 3D version of Google maps.

• 22 March 2017 - Connie Barlow sent David 40 seeds via priority mail from the Fall 2016 seed harvest by Frank Callahan from the pair of trees he planted at his mother's home in Medford, Oregon.

   LEFT: 20 November 2018: First sight of one of the 40 Medford seeds sprouting. As is typical, this sprout appeared sometime after experiencing two winters.


BELOW LEFT: The same torreya on 25 April 2021. So it is 2.5 years older than when photographed directly above. Notice the evergreen frond of a Christmas fern in upper left corner of the photo. That's a favored indicator species of good habitat for torreya!


BELOW RIGHT: A second free-planted seedling from the Medford OR set of 40 seeds is spotted 25 April 2021. Notice that this one, too, has a Christmas fern frond right next to it.


November 2019, Joe Facendola sent David Buckner 36 seeds from the Fall 2019 Clinton NC seed harvest. This introduces important genetic diversity into the Mars Hill NC torreya planting. As of April 2021, no seedlings from the free-planted Clinton seeds have been observed. But it is possible that one or more seedlings might appear during the July-August second growth increment that Torreya often displays in southerly states. Or, it is possible that seeds may have germinated already but are still just putting down a taproot. We shall see ...


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