Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Zone
Zones A2, A3, 2-6, 14-17, 32-41
Full SunPartial SunNo Sun
Full, Partial, Shade
Regular Water
Moderate

Taxus cuspidata

Japanese Yew
Taxaceae
Evergreen, Trees

TAXUS

Yews are conifers, but they do not bear cones. Instead, they produce fleshy, scarlet (rarely yellow), cup-shaped, single-seeded, berrylike fruit. In general, yews are darker green, more formal-looking, and more tolerant of shade and moisture than most cultivated conifers. Long-lived. Only the female plants produce berries, and many do so without male plants nearby. Excellent for hedges and screens. Yews can be moved without harm even when large, but since they grow at a slow to moderate rate, big plants are luxury items.

Yews take many soils but do not thrive in strongly alkaline or strongly acid conditions. Do not take extreme heat, and reflected heat from a hot south or west wall will burn foliage. Even cold-hardy kinds show needle damage when exposed to dry winds, very low temperatures. Can take much shearing and pruning, since they sprout from bare wood. Subject to vine weevils, scale insects, and spider mites. During prolonged spells of hot, dry weather, hose off plants every 2 weeks.

Taxus cuspidata

In its native Japan, a tree to 50 ft. tall; in North America, usually seen as a compact, pyramidal tree that grows to 10–25 ft. (possibly taller) and half as wide. Can be kept lower by pinching new growth. Fruits heavily. This is the most useful yew in cold-winter areas east of the Cascades. Will succeed in shaded areas of Rocky Mountain gardens. Needles are 1/2–1 in. long, dark green above, tinged yellowish beneath; usually arranged in two rows along twigs to make a flat or V-shaped spray.

You Might Also Like...

Taxus cuspidata

In its native Japan, a tree to 50 ft. tall; in North America, usually seen as a compact, pyramidal tre...

Galium

These woodland and meadow natives all have whorls of narrow leaves spaced at intervals along thin, usu...

Galium odoratum

Native to Europe, North Africa, and Siberia. Attractive low spreader that brings to mind deep, shady w...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More

Advertisement