The University of Florida Forest Pathology lab presented research on laurel wilt disease, pine pitch canker, the wood decay fungus Ganoderma, Torreya taxifolia, and the Araucarias of New Caledonia at the 27th Southern Appalachian Forest Entomology and Pathology Seminar at the North Carolina Forest Service Mountain Training Facility. Researchers from Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia and the Carolinas presented updates on efforts to combat Emerald Ash Borer, Southern Pine Beetle, the devastating Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and other pests of southeastern forests.

30 micron slice of redbay stem

Tyloses are bladder-like or balloon-like projections that block the xylem. In this photo you can see a tan ball inside one of the xylem cells (large openings). It’s almost right in the center. These are what essentially kill the plants in the cases of laurel wilt and Dutch elm disease.

Micrograph and words by PhD candidate student Stephanie Adams.

Over 2 days the Torreya Tree of Life event brought together leading conservation biologists to help save America’s rarest tree.

At Torreya – Tree of Life, 100 biologists met at the UF/ IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy and at the breathtaking Torreya State Park to brainstorm a plan to preserve the biodiversity of the Florida panhandle.



Every species plays its part in the tree of life

It was a perfect day for a hike through the ravines of the Apalachicola River basin north of the Gulf in the Florida panhandle. Dozens of biologists got to spend over an hour on the forest floor listening to E.O. Wilson talk about biodiversity and reminisce on the conditions of life in his old stomping grounds. A beautiful day to interact with other great scientists on how to bring the Florida torreya back from the brink of extinction.

The race is on to save this beautiful rare tree, because all life is connected and we are connected to all life on earth. Experts in conservation, forestry and biodiversity have teamed up to plan how best to protect this ancient conifer.