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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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsWater 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.
PropagationDescription: 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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 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 resourcesUSDA: Find Taxus canadensis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Taxus canadensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Taxus canadensis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-21
Research By: TWC Staff