What are some of the defining characteristics of the yew tree?

What are some of the defining characteristics of the yew tree?


  • evergreen shrub or small tree.
  • slow growing and long-lived.
  • twigs are smooth, reddish-brown, and very hard.
  • arils (red berry-like structures) contain seeds that are poisonous to animals; human stomachs can break down the seed coat and therefore are not harmed by consumption of arils.

How long do yew bushes live?

Taxus baccata can reach 400 to 600 years of age. Some specimens live longer but the age of yews is often overestimated.

Are yews evergreen?

Yews are fine-needled, dark green evergreens that add beauty and grace to nearly any landscape. These versatile trees are available in a variety of sizes and forms, from low-growing groundcovers to mid-size shrubs or stately, elegant trees. Planting yews is easy and, once established, caring for yews is uninvolved.

Is yew poisonous to humans?

The Common Yew (Taxus baccata) is an ornamental tree. The taxine alkaloids contained in yew berries, needles or bark are poisonous. The lethal dose for an adult is reported to be 50 g of yew needles. Patients who ingest a lethal dose frequently die due to cardiogenic shock, in spite of resuscitation efforts.

What does yew smell like?

What does Yew smell like? Yew doesn’t smell real fragrant – just kind of a sweet woody smell.

Is the yew tree the tree of life?

Many old yews were planted by Norman church-builders; others by Celtic Christians; and some predate Christianity, showing how the new religion supplanted older sacred sites. “It’s the tree of life, death and resurrection and it’s known as the tree of life in all cultures across the northern hemisphere,” says Fry.

How do you identify a yew?

Yew Identification The easiest way to identify a yew tree is by its red berry-like arils and long, flat, dark green needle-like leaves. Yew identification in winter is by its evergreen foliage and lack of seed-bearing ovoid or conical cones.

Do yews like sun or shade?

Yew plants can be grown in full sun, partial shade, or even full shade. For healthy and lush branching growth, opt for a spot that gets several hours of sun each day. Too much shade can cause thin and floppy growth.

How quickly does yew grow?

30cms per year
Yew is a fairly fast growing plant when it is young. It will easily grow 30cms per year, more if it is in full sun all day and well cared for. Yew will begin to grow slowly when the growing tips of the central, leading stems are cut.

Are yews good plants?

Yews often serve as foundation plantings around a house. They are also common in hedges and topiaries. By contrast, yews with a low, spreading habit are more suitable for foundation plants or short decorative hedges. Excellent soil drainage is key for growing yews.

Are yews fast growing?

Yews are slow-growing and long-lived, and often grow more wide than tall.

What kind of soil do yews like?

Yew will grow in acid, neutral or alkaline soils: perhaps best in neutral soils. It prefers moist, well drained soil with a high humus content. It will grow in most soils with good drainage, in sun or shade.