English Yew
Taxus baccata

English Yew- Click for Full Image

WARNING(S)
All parts are toxic. See Notes.

Family
Taxaceae

Description
Usually seen as an ornamental shrub, but may grow as a tree up to 12.2 meters (40ft). Bark is reddish-brown and peely. Needle-like leaves are arranged in narrow spirals. Leaves are glossy, dark green. Fruits are berry-like, spherical, and red.

Location
Found mostly as an ornamental hedge or bush, but may be found in the wild near old plantings.

Uses and Parts Used

Bark and Leaves
Bark and leaves contain paclitaxel, a widely marketed chemotherapy drug. Similarly, the pitch of the English Yew was once used to treat cancer.

Notes
Sales of paclitaxel exceed $1 billion every year. All parts of the English Yew are fatally toxic. American Indians tipped fishing spears with Yew toxin.

English Yew- Click for Full Image
English Yew- Click for Full Image
English Yew- Click for Full Image
English Yew