Florida Yew

Scientific Name: Taxus floridana
Family Name: Taxaceae

Leaves: Evergreen needles that are dark green, with two gray stripes on their undersides. The needles are ¾ - 1 in. (2 – 2.5 cm.) long and 1/16 in. (1.5 mm.) wide, and they grow in two rows, with pointed tips. The needles are flexible.

Tree: Florida Yew can grow to be 13 – 20 ft. (4 – 6 m.), and its trunk diameter is 1 ft. (.3 m.). It is most commonly found as a low decorative bush, but in the wild, it will grow as a tree. Florida Yew bark is extremely shredded, and brown to purple in color.

Fruit: Separate bushes with female fruit and male cones. The fruit are dull red berry casing ½ in. (1.2 cm.) in diameter, with a brown seed inside, and the cones are pale yellow 1/8 in. (3 mm.) in diameter.

Identifying Characteristics: The red berries growing on the Yew identify it.

Location: Many Florida Yews grow on the Brandeis University campus as decorative shrubs. The Yew pictured here grows behind Renfield Residence Hall.

History and Comments: Florida Yew is a native of Florida, but it is widely planted as a decorative shrub. Its seeds and needles are very poisonous (although not the red berry casing), and can be fatal for people and livestock.

    Unless otherwise specified, all text, photographs, and drawings are Copyright (c) by Shu-Yee Chen and Deborah Hamer 2003. No part of this page may be reproduced without prior written consent of the authors.