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Taxus canadensis (Canada yew)
Smith, R.W.

Taxus canadensis

Taxus canadensis Marshall

Canada Yew, American Yew

Taxaceae (Yew Family)

Synonym(s): Taxus canadensis var. adpressa, Taxus canadensis var. minor

USDA Symbol: TACA7

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

American yew is a low, straggling shrub or ground cover, 3-6 ft. tall and twice as wide, with flat, narrow needles that are dark green above and pale green below. Evergreen foliage takes on a reddish-brown tint in winter. Spreading limbs ascend at the tips. Bright-red, berry-like fruit grows at the tips of the branches.

The Canada Yew is a member of the family Taxaceae which includes trees and sometimes shrubs, slightly aromatic and resinous, without flowers or fruit; mostly in northern temperate regions. About 20 species worldwide, including 4 native tree and 1 shrub species in North America in the genera yew (Taxus) and torreya (Torreya).


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: CT , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , NL , NS , PE
Native Distribution: Nf. to s.e. Man., s. to VA & TN, n. IL & n.e. IA

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist sands or sandy loams.
Conditions Comments: Needs protection from winter sun and wind, heat or drought. Pest free.


Description: Yew seeds are slow to germinate – natural germination not taking place until the second year. Most yews root readily from cuttings taked from Oct. to Jan. Cuttings benefit from hormone treatment and will take up to 3 months to root.
Seed Collection: Fruits ripen in late summer or fall. Each scarlet fruit contains a single, fleshy seed which can be extracted by macerating the fruit in water and floating off the pulp.
Seed Treatment: Seed dormancy can be broken by warm plus cold stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Taxus canadensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Taxus canadensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Taxus canadensis


Record Modified: 2022-10-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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