Taxus baccata

Family: Taxaceae

Countries: Africa, Albania, Algeria, Austria, Balearic Islands, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Corsica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Middle East, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Sardegna, Scotland, Sicily, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Wales, Yugoslavia

Yew is also known by its botanical name, Taxus baccata.  This is a glorious evergreen that’s versatile and accommodating.  Taxus baccata is happy to grow as a specimen tree or a hedge; plants are content to grow naturally as unpruned trees but are equally happy to be pruned and clipped into spheres, pyramids, corkscrew twists, hearts, or whichever shape your heart desires.  If you plan to grow Taxus baccata as a hedge, please allow your hedge to grow right down to soil level to provide adequate cover, shelter and protection for hedgehogs, birds, and other wildlife.

Taxus baccata can be found growing wild across Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa.  This hardy evergreen produces fine, needle-like, dark-green coloured foliage.  Taxus baccata plants are monoecious – they’re either male or female; both plants flower – but only females carry fruit.  In autumn, female Taxus baccata plants bear cheerful red berries known as arils; arils are very precious, they conceal Taxus seeds within their open fleshy shell, these are an important food for Blackbirds, Thrushes, Fieldfares, Dormice, and other wildlife, through the autumn and winter months.   Yew is a food plant for caterpillars of certain moth species.  The Willow Beauty Moth, the Satin Beauty Moth, Clepsis consimilana, and Red-Barred Tortrix Moth caterpillars all feed on Taxus baccata foliage.  Taxus baccata is a tough and long-lived, hardy tree that supports a range of species.

This tree will grow happily in any moist but well-drained soil – it’s important that you choose a site where the soil is well-drained and not prone to being wet.  When planting Taxus baccata, avoid areas that become waterlogged at times over winter, and steer clear of sites that hold surface water after heavy rain.  Taxus baccata can become susceptible to root problems, including serious diseases like Phytophthora.  If you’re looking to purchase a Taxus baccata plant, choose a strong and healthy plant, with dark green, healthy looking foliage.  Avoid plants that display any yellowing or brown foliage, and forgo any Taxus baccata plants that have an unhappy disposition, or are sitting in containers filled with wet or waterlogged compost.

Taxus baccata often forms incredibly long-lived plants; vast Taxus baccata trees are often seen growing near churches.This tree will happily grow in full sunshine, partial shade or full shade.  Taxus baccata grows up to around 20m (65ft) tall and 8m (26ft) wide; however, plants can easily be contained at much smaller sizes with regular pruning.  Yew is suited to growing in historic, urban, modern, or country cottage gardens.

Taxus baccata is a poisonous plant that produces compounds that are used in medicine, notably in cancer treatments.

To see all of my plant pages, please click here.

Articles that mention Taxus baccata:

Other articles you might like:

Comments are closed.