Thursday, November 13, 2008

And There Yew Have It

We all three--younger son included--- had the day off for Veteran's Day. So we took our family veteran for a hike. B served in the US Navy and is a Vietnam vet. Thank you, Veterans!

We went to Torreya State Park in Gadsden County to take advantage of free admission day. Any excuse will do! We have been there day-tripping innumerable times and it is a great place to camp, too. The campground was almost empty on this gorgeous day.

Torreya is on a high bluff on the Apalachicola River and is a unique area. It has little resemblance to anywhere else in Florida. It has steep ravines, called steepheads, that usually have a stream cutting them still deeper. The forest has plants more common to the Appalachians and these supposedly have already peaked, but the colors were still very nice. The sourwood trees are some of my favorites.

Here is some red, white and blue!

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Here is a sampling of some leaves I collected:

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We found what B thinks is a Downy Arrowwood bush, Viburnum rafinesquianum. This was a new one to us, as it is one of those rare in Florida.

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We read, as the name suggests,  that it was used by Indians to make arrows. And there has been plenty of evidence that the area has been inhabited for a very long time.

Torreya is named for the native Torreya tree ( a yew) that grows naturally only in small section of this area. From disease and collecting as Christmas trees, it is nearly extinct. It has a cousin, the Florida yew, that is so similar, we could not really tell without a sign posted, which was which. Both are on the endangered species list.

Torreya:

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And here is the Florida yew:

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And there yew have it!

3 comments:

Big Bend Blog said...

Torreya is my favorite place to hike in Florida during the fall. Have you ever hiked the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve (aka The Garden of Eden)?

Floridacracker said...

Beautiful spot and those leaves were magnificent.

S N B said...

Fall should be making its way to you soon, FC. It is more beautiful everyday here. Today, it was the bald cypresses that I noticed have burst into flame.

Yes, Big Bend, we have hiked there too. Those are lovely woods, too.