Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Taxus floridana

Introductory

SPECIES: Taxus floridana
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Sullivan, Janet. 1993. Taxus floridana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].
ABBREVIATION : TAXFLO SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : TAFL COMMON NAMES : Florida yew TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for Florida yew is Taxus floridana Nutt. ex Chapm. [6,12]. There are no accepted infrataxa. LIFE FORM : Tree, Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : None [29] OTHER STATUS : The state of Florida lists Florida yew as endangered [28]. The Natural Heritage Program lists Florida yew as imperiled because of rarity or because of vulnerability to extinction (global and state rank 2) [2]. Florida yew is listed by The Nature Conservancy as imperiled because of rarity and limited range [7].


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Taxus floridana
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Florida yew is known only from bluffs and ravines along the Apalachicola River in northwestern Florida, in Gadsden and Liberty counties [6,7]. Several populations occur along a 15-mile [24 km] stretch of the river [7,11,12]. A single population was reported by Kurz [10] in an Atlantic white-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) swamp 8 miles [12.8 km] southeast of Bristol, Florida. The Nature Conservancy, however, reported that no further observations of the Atlantic white-cedar swamp population have been made [7]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress STATES : FL BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K112 Southern mixed forest SAF COVER TYPES : 70 Longleaf pine 74 Cabbage palmetto 97 Atlantic white-cedar SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Florida yew usually occurs in small clonal stands or clumps and rarely as individual stems [7,20]. It occurs as disjunct populations of several hundred to several thousand stems per hectare in hardwood forests dominated by American beech (Fagus grandiflora) and southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), in both open forest habitats and dense mountain-laurel (Kalmia latifolia) thickets. It is an important component of the forest understory in some drainages [20]. Florida yew occurs in habitats which include the rare Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia), false hellebore (Veratrum woodii), and bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia). More common species occurring with Florida yew include laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), American beech, horse sugar (Symplocos tinctoria), highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), and in an Atlantic white-cedar swamp, inkberry (Ilex glabra) [10,20]. Additional species that occur with Florida yew as reported by Southeastern Forestry Services [20] include white oak (Q. alba), mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa), tree sparkleberry (V. arboreum), and yaupon (I. vomitoria). On lower slopes the forests are dominated by American beech, southern magnolia, and American holly (I. opaca). In some ravines Florida yew occurs in dense stands of fetterbush (Leucothoe racemosa), mountain-laurel, greenbriers (Smilax spp.), and canebreak (Arundinaria spp.). No indicator species associated with Florida yew have yet been identified. Southeastern Forestry Services suggested that differences in soil, aspect, moisture, or a combination of these factors may influence the distribution of Florida yew, and that further research is needed.

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Taxus floridana
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Birds consume almost of all ripe Florida yew cones [6]. The relatively small distribution of this tree makes it unlikely that it is an important food source for any species. White-tailed deer rubs on Florida yew are common, sometimes causing extensive damage or death to the stem. Florida yew is a preferred food for beavers. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers excavate Florida yew for insects; holes characteristic of this bird were found on mature Florida yew stems [20]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : Taxol, a compound used to combat cancer, has been isolated from Florida yew bark [7]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Florida yew occurs in forests that may be subject to logging and/or other private development. It has also been found to contain taxol in quantities similar to those found in Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia), and may be exploited for that purpose. This may pose a major threat to Florida yew, considering the small number of extant individuals and its extremely restricted range. If in vitro production of taxol is developed, exploitation of Florida yew for taxol production may become less of a threat to remaining populations [7]. Florida yew occurs in some areas that have been protected (The Nature Conservancy's Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve and Torreya State Park), but many populations remain without specific protection. Long-term monitoring programs, artificial propagation studies, and studies on the fungi associated with Florida yew (as possible taxol producers) are underway. Further studies on its reproductive biology and other ecological characteristics have been recommended [7]. The seeds and fresh foliage are poisonous to humans [3].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Taxus floridana
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Florida yew is a native, evergreen, small, bushy tree or shrub [3,6,12]. Maximum height at maturity is usually 26 feet (8 m), although one survey reported an individual that was 30 feet (9 m) tall and 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) d.b.h. [3,6,20]. The bark is purplish brown, sloughing in plates. The leaves are needlelike, flat, linear, and somewhat falcate, 0.8 to 1 inch (2-2.5 cm) long. The branches are arranged in an irregular manner, long branches are often oriented ar nearly right angles to the trunk. Even though the wood is hard when dried, live trunks are flexible [16]. The ovulate cones occur singly in only a few leaf axils [6]. The ovulate cones have a fleshy outer covering (aril) that is 0.4 inch (10 mm) broad [3]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Florida yew is dioecious [16]. The seeds of other yews (Taxus spp.) often take two growing seasons to germinate. Passage through the digestive tract of birds is probably required for germination of any yew seed [17]. Seedling recruitment in Florida yew varies among sites. The majority of seedlings occur under female Florida yew trees, but seedling height growth is negatively affected by the presence and density of a canopy. Of one hundred tagged seedlings at each of two sites, 21 and 39 percent survived to 10 months. Seedlings are apparently only moderately shade tolerant; very low levels of seedling recruitment were observed at the site which had a closed canopy [16]. Florida yews form clonal stands largely through layering [16], although root sprouts have also been reported [20]. Stems which have had their tops chewed off by beavers will sprout, resulting in a bushy growth form [20]. Individual Florida yew stems often fall over after reaching maturity, or have branches forced to the ground by overstory branches or stems which allows new Florida yew stems to form. The flexible trunk and long branches of Florida yew appear to facilitate the formation of clonal stands. Female genets have significantly more ramets than male genets [16]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Florida yew occurs on steep slopes in the ravines and occasionally on bluffs along the the Apalachicola River. Soils are slightly acidic to neutral sandy loams [7,10]. Florida yew occurs at elevations between upland sandhill (longleaf pine [Pinus palustris]) habitats and very moist ravine bottoms [1,13]. It also occurs in an acidic peat (pH range 4.2-4.5) swamp [10]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Florida yew is tolerant of shade. Seed germination occurs under light to deep shade, although seedling establishment and survival are low under very deep shade [16]. Florida yew is, however, apparently adapted to disturbance. Disturbances that topple Florida yew stems, such as shifting sands or windfall of overstory stems create opportunites for new ramet formation, often downslope of the original stem. Individual stems of Florida yew may be relatively short-lived, but genets may be long-lived, shifting location along slopes. The largest (and oldest) genets are often found on the lowest slopes [27]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Florida yew arils mature in September or early October of their first season [3].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Taxus floridana
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Florida yew occurs in humid forests on moderate to steep slopes that rarely burn. Fire was historically frequent in the longleaf pine/grass habitats upland of these slopes; observers note that surface fires there often burn to the edges of the slopes and then naturally extinguish [24]. Fires in the mesic hammocks in which Florida yew occurs usually originate elsewhere, and consist of surface fires that creep and burn only litter [27]. Florida yew will sprout after tops have been damaged by means other than fire. It is possible that fire-damaged stems may respond the same way. Sprouts that form after tops have been damaged, however, are of low vigor and do not usually survive [25]. Other yews are very susceptible to heat damage and rarely sprout after fire [26]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/soboliferous species root sucker

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Taxus floridana
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Florida yew is probably easily killed by fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : NO-ENTRY DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Fires in Florida yew habitats would probably be detrimental to Florida yew populations [19].

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Taxus floridana
REFERENCES : 1. Boyles-Sprenkel, Carolee. 1993. Restoring a "grass-roots" forest. American Forests. 99(5&6): 43-45, 60-61. [21284] 2. Chafin, L. 1993 [pers. com.] 3. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764] 4. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 5. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 6. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239] 7. Guala, Stinger. 1993. Element stewardship abstract for Taxus floridana, Florida yew. Arlington, Virginia: The Nature Conservancy. 8 p. On file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences. [22193] 8. Gueritte-Voegelein, Francoise; Guenard, Daniel; Potier, Pierre. 1987. Taxol and derivatives: a biogenetic hypothesis. Journal of Natural Products. 50(1): 9-18. [12625] 9. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 10. Kurz, Herman. 1927. A new and remarkable habitat for the endemic Florida yew. Torreya. 27: 90-92. [22192] 11. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1975. Rare and local conifers in the United States. Conservation Research Rep. No. 19. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 25 p. [15691] 12. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952] 13. Nicholson, Rob. 1990. Chasing ghosts. Natural History. 12: 8,10-13. [21788] 14. Preston, Richard J., Jr. 1948. North American trees. Ames, IA: The Iowa State College Press. 371 p. [1913] 15. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 16. Redmond, Ann M. 1984. Population ecology of Taxus floridana (Nutt.), a dioecious, understory tree. Tallahassee, FL: The Florida State University. 47 p. Thesis. [22427] 17. Rudolf, Paul O. 1974. Taxus L. yew. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 799-802. [7763] 18. Scher, Stanley; Schwarzschild, Bert. 1989. Pacific yew: a facultative riparian conifer with an uncertain future. In: Proceedings of the California riparian systems conference: protection, management, and restoration for the 1990's; 1988 September 22-24; Davis, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-110. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 172-175. [13426] 19. Self, David; Kelly, Eugene M. 1988. Rare plant monitoring and prescribed burning initiated at the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve (Florida). Restoration & Management Notes. 6(2): 91. [10144] 20. Southeastern Wildlife Services, Inc. 1982. A distribution survey of the populations of Taxus floridana and Torreya taxifolia in Florida. Contract No.: 14-16-0004-81-069. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 11 p. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab, Missoula, MT. [22194] 21. Stalter, Richard. 1990. Torreya taxifolia Arn. Florida torreya. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 601-603. [13420] 22. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 23. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1994. Plants of the U.S.--alphabetical listing. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 954 p. [23104] 24. Martin, D. L. 1993 [pers. com.] 25. Redmond, A. 1993 [pers. com.] 26. Bolsinger, Charles L.; Jaramillo, Annabelle E. 1990. Taxus brevifolia Nutt. Pacific yew. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 573-579. [13417] 27. Platt, William J.; Schwartz, Mark W. 1990. Temperate hardwood forests. In: Myers, Ronald L.; Ewel, John J., eds. Ecosystems of Florida. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Press: 194-229. [17390] 28. Wood, Don A., compiler. 1994. Official lists of endangered & potentially endangered fauna and flora in Florida. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. 22 p. [24196] 29. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 2013. Endangered Species Program, [Online]. Available: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/. [86564]


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