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Common Yew, English Yew
Scientific Name: Taxus baccata L.
Synonym:
Family: Taxaceae
Common Yew, English Yew (Taxus  baccata)
Taxus 'Fastigiata Aurea'
Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 3-9,14-24,32-34
USDA: 7-10

Sun Exposure: Part sun to shade

Origin: Eurasia, from Great Britain to Caucasus, Iran, south to North Africa

Growth Habits: Slow-growing evergreen shrub or tree, 20 to 45 feet tall (6-14 m), 20 feet spread (6 m), or more in favorable sites, it is also largely trimmed to make hedges, and then stays pretty much to the size required; droopy horizontal branchlets; reddish purple, scaly bark; shiny dark green, linear, spirally arranged leaves, 1 inch long (2.5 cm), yellowish green undersides

Watering Needs: Little water once established

Propagation: Branch tip cuttings in the fall, layering, seeds (need cold stratification)


Most part of the yew are poisonous and should be considered potentially deadly. Parts of the fruit are supposed edible if the seeds are not ingested.

Yew wood was used to make long bow, and Robin Hood used a yew bow in his adventures. Yew has a long connection with druidic beliefs.

Since the yews can be propagated relatively easily by cuttings, there is a number of selected cultivars, several of them probably belonging to related species, rather than to T. baccata :

  • 'Adpressa' - up to 8 feet tall (2.4 m) or more, probably a cultivar of Taxus canadensis.
  • 'Adpressa Aurea' - up to 8 feet tall (2.4 m) or more, yellow young shoots, probably a cultivar of Taxus canadensis.
  • 'Amersforte' - short, oval, flattened needles. Slow-growing to 10 feet tall (3 m), with stiff, outward-spreading branches. Hardy to zone 6.
  • 'Cheshuntensis' - narrow, columnar to conical shaped, silvery green needles.
  • 'Fastigiata', 'Fastigiata aurea', 'Stricta', Irish Yew - columnar trees, cultivars of Taxus fastigiata.
  • 'Fowle' - flat-topped, vase shaped semi dwarf shrub, annual growth rate of about 3 inches (8 cm).
  • 'Repandens' - wide, slow-growing plant, with dark green foliage, 2 to 3 feet tall (60-90 cm).
  • 'Standishii' - upright, very slow-growing, with yellow foliage, eventually reaching 6 feet (1.80 m).
  • 'Washingtonii' - slow-growing, globe shaped, with golden-yellow new growth, 10 feet tall or more (3 m). Probably a cultivar of Taxus recurvata.

Common Yew, English Yew (Taxus  baccata)

Blooming Habits:
Inconspicuous flowers in early spring.

Fruiting Habits:
Dioecious. The female trees carry red, fleshy, ovoid, fruits, about 0.4 inch long (1 cm) maturing in mid summer (August)


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