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Taxus brevifolia Nutt.
Pacific yew, Western yew
USDA Symbol: TABR2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Pacific yew or western yew is a 15-50 ft., evergreen shrub or small tree with red-brown, scaly bark; horizontal, drooping branches and deep, yellow-green foliage in flat sprays. Poisonous, nonresinous, evergreen tree with angled trunk often twisted or irregular and with broad crown of slender, horizontal branches; sometimes shrubby.
The strong wood has been used for archery bows, poles, canoe paddles, and small cabinetwork; however, the limited supply and small dimensions restrict use. While most parts of yew plants, are deadly poisonous, the red, juicy cup around the seed is reported to be edible, provided the poisonous seed is not chewed or swallowed. Birds eat these cups and scatter the seeds.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf:
Brown Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Time: Jun , Jul
AK , CA , ID , MT , NV , OR , WA Canada: AB
, BC Native Distribution:
Extreme s.e. AK to c. CA & n.w. MT; historically in NV Native Habitat:
Damp, partly shady, mt. ravines below 7000 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N), AK(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available
EDIBLE PARTS: The red arils, in small amounts, are edible. The green seed is toxic. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.) Use Medicinal:
Taxol (terpenoid) comes from the bark
and is used to treat breast and ovarian cancer.
leaves, seed pit (red, fleshy surrounding part, called the aril,
is OK to eat). Highly Toxic! May be Fatal if Eaten! Symptoms include nervousness, trembling, slow pulse, pupil dilation, difficult breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, convulsions; may be fatal. Toxic Principle: Alkaloid taxine. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.) Attracts:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CA
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Record Modified: 2008-02-19
Research By: TWC Staff