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Taxus baccata

(Common Yew)


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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Dutch:


Common Names in English:

Common Yew, English Yew, English Yew;european Yew, European Yew, Robust Irish Yew, Yew

Common Names in French:


Common Names in German:



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Family Taxaceae

Trees or shrubs evergreen , dioecious or rarely monoecious. Leaves spirally arranged or decussate, linear or lanceolate, abaxial surface with 1 stomatal band on each side of prominent or inconspicuous midvein , resin canal present or absent. Pollen cones solitary in leaf or bract axils, or aggregated into spikelike complexes apically on branches; microsporophylls numerous ; pollen sacs 3-9, radially arranged or on outer side of microsporophyll and then with distinct adaxial and abaxial surfaces; pollen nonsaccate. Seed-bearing structures solitary or paired in axils of leaves or bracts, pedunculate or sessile, with several overlapping or decussate bracts at base ; ovule solitary, borne at apex of floral axis, erect . Seed sessile or pedunculate, drupelike or nutlike, partially enclosed in a succulent, saccate or cupular aril, or completely enclosed within aril; female gametophyte tissue abundant. Cotyledons 2. Germination epigeal, hypogeal in Torreya.

Five genera and 21 species; mainly N hemisphere (except Austrotaxus R. H. Compton: New Caledonia) ; four genera (one endemic) and 11 species (five endemic, one introduced ) in China.[1]

Physical Description

ID Features: Dark green needles that end in a horny tip. Wide spreading branches with spirally arranged needles. Brown scales in stems. Reddish brown flaking bark. Red fleshy seeds.

Habit: A large evergreen shrub or small tree with wide spreading , dense branches. • Growth Form: Single CrownShape and Orientation: Decumbent

Flowers: Not ornamentally important. Dioecious. • Bloom Period: Mid SpringFlower Color: Yellow • Flower Conspicuous: No

Seeds: Seed per Pound: 6400 • Seed Spread Rate: Slow • Seedling Vigor: Low • Fruit: Solitary seeds, slightly compressed , round and flessy, red. • Fruit/Seed Abundance: Low • Fruit/Seed Color: Red • Fruit/Seed Conspicuous: Yes • Cold Stratification Required: Yes

Foliage: Foliage Color: Green • Summer foliage: Spirally arranged needle-like leaves, appears to be two-ranked if grown in. shade. 0.5" to 1.25" long and up to 0.25" wide, convexed and has a prominent . midrib . Dark green color to leaves. Leave apex has a horny point . Stems have brownish scales at base . • Fall foliage: No fall color, evergreen . • Foliage Porosity Summer: Dense • Foliage Porosity Winter: Dense • Foliage Texture: Medium • Fall Conspicuous: No • Leaf Retention: Yes


Active Growth Period: Spring and Summer • Growth Rate: Slow • Mature Height (feet): 2.0 • Maximum Height at 20 Years (feet): 2 • Size: 30' to 50' tall and 20' wide. • Vegetative Spread Rate: Moderate • Lifespan: Lifespan


Landscape Uses: For parks. Gardens. In shade. Cultivars can be used as understory shrubs . Hedges . Screens . In groupings or mass plantings . Topiary. Decoration. • Liabilities: Toxic . Not as cold hardy as other Taxus. Strong winds can cause desiccation in winter months. Taxus scale. Mealybugs.


Zone 6, zone 5 in protected sites.

Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 2,582 meters (0 to 8,471 feet).[2]


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Duration: PerennialCoppice Potential: No • Progagated by Bulbs: No • Propagated by Bare Root: Yes • Propagated by Container: Yes • Propagated by Corms: No • Propagated by Cuttings: Yes • Propagated by Seed: No • Propagated by Sod: No • Propagated by Sprigs: No • Propagated by Tubers: No • Fruit/Seed Period Begin: Summer • Fruit/Seed Period End: FallFruit/Seed Persistence: No


Culture: PH adaptable. Prefers moist, well-drained, soil. Does well in sun or shade. Keep out of windswept sites. Does not like extreme cold or extreme heat. Transplants easily.

Soil: Adapted to Medium Textured: Adapted to Medium Textured Soils • Adapted to Coarse Textured Soils: Yes • Anaerobic Tolerance: None • Salinity Tolerance: Medium • CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium • Minimum pH: 5.4 • Maximum pH: 7.3 • Fertility Requirement: Medium

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun . • Shade Tolerance: Tolerant

Moisture: Drought Tolerance: High • Minimum Precipitation: 32 • Maximum Precipitation: 60 • Moisture Use: Low

Temperature: Minimum Temperature (F): -33°F. • Minimum Frost Free Days: 100 • Cold Hardiness: 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b. (map)


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Taxus baccata eubaccata Pilg. • Taxus baccifera Theophr. Ex Bubani • Taxus communis J. Nelson • Taxus lugubris Salisb. • Taxus pectinata Gilib.

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Taxus

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 51 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

T. baccata (Common Yew) · T. baccata brevifolia (Pacific Yew) · T. baccata cuspidata (Japanese Yew) · T. baccata 'Amersfoort' (Amersfoort English Yew) · T. baccata 'Fastigiata' (English Yew) · T. baccata 'Jacksonii' (English Yew) · T. baccata 'Lutea' (English Yew) · T. baccata 'Repandens' (Repandens Spreading English Yew) · T. baccata 'Repandens Aurea' (Spreading English Yew) · T. baccata 'Standishii' (Standishii English Yew) · T. baccata 'Stricta' (Irish Yew) · T. baccata 'Watnong Gold' (English Yew) · T. brevifolia (Canadian Yew) · T. canadensis (Canada Yew) · T. cuspidata (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata Siebold & Zucc. forma latifolia (Pilg.) Fitsch. (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidatavar. densa (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata 'Aurea' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata Siebold & Zucc. 'Densiformis' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata Siebold & Zucc. 'Expansa' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata Siebold & Zucc. 'Hunewellii' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata Siebold & Zucc. 'Intermedia' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata Siebold & Zucc. 'Nana Aurea' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata Siebold & Zucc. 'Prostrata' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata Siebold & Zucc. 'Sieboldii' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata Siebold & Zucc. 'Stricta' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata 'Aurescens' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata 'Capitata' (Capitata Yew) · T. cuspidata 'Dwarf Bright Gold' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata 'Monloo' (Emerald Spreader Yew) · T. cuspidata 'Silver Queen' (Japanese Yew) · T. cuspidata 'Winter Jewel' (Cone Winter Jewel Japanese Yew) · T. floridana (Florida Yew) · T. jacksonii (English Yew) · T. nucifera (Japanese-Nutmeg) · T. wallichiana (Himalayan Yew) · T. x media'Flushing' (Anglo-Japanese Yew) · T. x media 'Beanpole' (Beanpole Hybrid Yew) · T. x media 'Bean Pole' (Anglojap Yew) · T. x media 'Brownii' (Anglojap Yew) · T. x media'Citation' (Citation Upright Yew) · T. x media 'Densiflora' (Anglojap Yew) · T. x media 'Densiformis' (Dense Spreading Yew) · T. x media 'Densiformis Select' (Select Dense Spreading Yew) · T. x media 'Green Mountain' (Green Mountain Yew) · T. x media 'Hicksii' (Hicks Yew) · T. x media 'Kelseyi' (Anglojap Yew) · T. x media 'Lc Bobbink' (Anglojap Yew) · T. x media 'Maureen' (Anglojap Yew) · T. x media 'Tauntonii' (Taunton`s Yew) · T. x media 'Viridis' (Columnar Yew)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 11, 2007:



  1. Liguo Fu, Nan Li & Robert R. Mill "Taxaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 4 Page 89. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. Mean = 120.910 meters (396.686 feet), Standard Deviation = 146.690 based on 10,881 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-05-07