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Torreya fargesii ssp. fargesii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES TAXACEAE

Scientific Name: Torreya fargesii ssp. fargesii
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Farges Nutmeg Tree
Synonym(s):
Torreya fargesii Franch.
Torreya grandis Fortune ex Lindl. subspecies fargesii (Franch.) Silba
Taxonomic Notes: Torreya fargesii, treated as a variety of Torreya grandis in the World Checklist and Bibliography of Conifers (Farjon, 1998, [2001]) and by most western botanists, is recognized as a distinct species in Flora of China 4: 95 (1999). In that Flora, T. grandis has two varieties, one (var. grandis) widespread in eastern China and one (var. jiulongshanensis) limited to S Zhejiang. Torreya fargesii partly overlaps that range, but extends further west and north. A consistent morphological difference is found in the relative width of stomatal bands and green margins and midrib on the leaf under (abaxial) sides, which appears to separate the two species. In T. fargesii the midrib is narrower than the margins; in T. grandis midrib and margins are of about equal width and as wide as the margins in T. fargesii. With roughly equal total leaf width in both species, this results in wider stomatal bands in T. fargesii. Two varieties are recognized also with this species: var. fargesii and var. yunnanensis; the latter has longer and wider leaves than both T. fargesii var. fargesii and T. grandis, but retains the relative widths mentioned above on the abaxial leaf faces. This character state is therefore accepted as sufficient to separate T. fargesii and T. grandis at species level.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-16
Assessor(s): Hilton-Taylor, C., Yang, Y. & Luscombe, D
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Farjon, A.
Justification:
This variety is highly prized as a timber tree, and it appears that the population is now comprised mostly of younger smaller trees in largely inaccessible areas. Hence the inference is that the population would have been more widespread and that much of the large mature population has been exploited in the past. It therefore seems reasonable to suspect a greater than 50% population reduction in the past three generations (150 years). General clearance of forest at lower elevations (especially for agriculture) would have had an impact.
History:
2000 Vulnerable
1998 Vulnerable (Oldfield et al. 1998)
1998 Vulnerable
1997 Vulnerable (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to China where it is recorded from S Anhui, W Hubei, NW Hunan, Jiangxi, S Shaanxi, and Sichuan.
Countries:
Native:
China (Anhui, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The entire population is estimated to number more than 53,000 individuals. The population comprises mostly young trees trees with very few seedlings or old trees.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This variety occurs in coniferous, mixed and broad-leaved forests as an understorey shrub or a small to medium sized tree, and grows most often on limestone cliffs at lower elevations from 800 to 1,700 m a.s.l.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species yields high quality wood used in building houses, bridges (durability of the wood) and furniture; some of it is also used to make utensils, wood turning and for fuel. The seeds are edible and produce oil that is extracted; the essential 'torreya oil' is extracted from the aril. It is in cultivation in China, but not as widely as T. grandis; outside its native country it is only planted in a few botanic gardens and arboreta.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There has been considerable deforestation in many areas where it occurs (or has occurred in the recent past according to herbarium collections made since the beginning of the twentieth century). Larger trees were probably felled for their timber, and smaller trees used for firewood.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a logging ban in place, but this may be hard to enforce. This variety presumably occurs in a number of protected areas across its range.

Citation: Hilton-Taylor, C., Yang, Y. & Luscombe, D 2013. Torreya fargesii ssp. fargesii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 September 2014.
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