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Uses Name Characteristics

Yew

Taxus spp.

Family: Taxaceae

Location:
  • there are several species, each found in different part of the world
  • Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata) is commonly used for landscaping and is seen in the Northeastern United States
Yew Shrub
Characteristics:
  • 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
shrub form
Yew Needles
Leaves:
  • needles are 1-3 cm or ¾ - 1 inch long and flat
  • dark green on both sides
  • crushed foliage as a mild odor
Yew Modified Cone
Modified Cones:
  • female plants have a highly modified cone containing one brown seed
  • a soft, bright red, berry-like structure called an aril forms around the cone, leaving the brown seed visible on one end
modified cone
Yew Tree
Uses:

The best part of the yew tree from which to make a bow is the sapwood, found just under the bark, combined with just a small portion of the heartwood. The sapwood resists stretching, and the heart wood resists compression.

tree form

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