Botanical Name: Taxus baccata
Common Name: English Yew  
Plant photo of: Taxus baccata
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Water Saving Tip:

Change spray sprinklers to low-flow bubbler or drip systems. Shrubs and trees are ideal candidates for this type of irrigation because the water is applied directly to the root zones.

  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type

Tree, Shrub


Height Range

6-12', 12-25', 25-40'


Flower Color



Flower Season



Leaf Color

Dark Green


Bark Color

Brown, Red


Fruit Color



Fruit Season



Half, Shade



Medium, Extra in Summer


Growth Rate



Soil Type

Clay, Loam


Soil Condition

Average, Rich, Well-drained, Moist


Soil pH



Adverse Factors


Design Styles

English Cottage, Formal, Japanese, Mediterranean


Accenting Features



Seasonal Interest



Location Uses

Background, Shrub Border, Foundation, Walls / Fences


Special Uses

Hedge, Screen, Topiary, Wind Break


Attracts Wildlife


Information by: Stephanie Duer
  • Description

  • Notes

English yew is a slow growing evergreen that will eventually reach 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide, though this will take a very long time. This is the yew so popular in English topiary gardens and as hedges. Here, with our hot dry summers, it probably will never attain that stature. Lustrous, flat-needled, dark green foliage is attractive year round. Young shoots emerge light green. Although classified as a conifer, female yews (plants are dioecious) do not produce cones, but instead produce red, attractive, berry-like fruits, each having a single seed almost completely surrounded by a fleshy red aril. Birds will feed on the berry-like fruits; fruits are toxic to humans.
Best grown in evenly moist, fertile, sandy-loam to clay-loam soils with excellent drainage in part to full shade. Tolerant of considerable pruning, though if pruned selectively, rather than sheared will preserve its natural form, reduce future pruning work, and allow you to enjoy the bright breen new foliage.