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English Yew Cephalotaxus harringtonia

Other plants called English Yew:

Previously known as:

  • Taxus baccata
Phonetic Spelling
sef-ah-loh-TAKS-us har-ring-TOH-nee-ah
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Japanese Plum Yew is an ideal shrub or small tree for the southeastern United States as it tolerates both the summer heat and humidity unlike other Yews.  It has a broad, shrubby habit with horizontal branches but can also be trained into a small tree. This plant prefers moist, well-drained soil but tolerates dry, sandy, or clay soil. Plant it in the full sun if you have cool summers otherwise it needs partial shade and tolerates shade better than most other needled evergreens.  Its texture is medium to fine, and this plant is normally wider than tall.  This dioecious evergreen shrub will reach a height of 5'-10' tall and about as wide.

Once established this plant is drought tolerant and deer resistant.  It works well as an accent or planted in mass along a border.  It makes an interesting change in the landscape from typical Junipers.  There are many cultivars from dwarfs to small shrubs to different needle type, vegetative with female cones commonly not seen. Male cones are surrounded by bracts & next season's twigs appear to grow through them. 

Plants grown in zone 5 and lower should plant in a protected location as they are not reliably winter hardy.  This is a great choice for those south of zone 7 that desire a yew-like plant but struggle because it is too warm.

Family name was previously Cephalotaxaceae.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Gymnosperm, linear leaves
  • 2 white glaucous bands below
  • juvenile growth with leaves spirally arranged
  • adult growth with V-shaped leaf pattern on branch

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.

 

 

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Patio Room Hydrangeas in the Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Duke Gardens', 'Fastigiata', 'Mary Fleming', 'Prostrata'
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#partial shade#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#shrub#slow growing#shade tolerant#low maintenance#winter interest#accent plant#mass planting#cpp#deer resistant#fantz#humidity tolerant#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Duke Gardens', 'Fastigiata', 'Mary Fleming', 'Prostrata'
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#partial shade#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#shrub#slow growing#shade tolerant#low maintenance#winter interest#accent plant#mass planting#cpp#deer resistant#fantz#humidity tolerant#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cephalotaxus
    Species:
    harringtonia
    Family:
    Taxaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Assam, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant is particularly resistant to damage by deer.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    particularly resistant to deer damage, drought and heat tolerant; tolerates dry, sandy, or clay soil.
    Edibility:
    Red fleshy plum-like fruit around the green seed (pit) is okay to eat. Pits are poisonous.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 5 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 14 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Olive-like red axillary fruit on female plants resembling small(up to 1") plums, a fleshy aril nearly surrounding the green seed. Male cones are clustered on last season's branches, globular.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Description:
    Non-showy yellow flowers enclosed in a bract on male plants
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Leaf Type:
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    0.5-1.2 in. feather-like needles, dark green leaves, linear with a sharp taper, spirally arranged in a v-shaped pattern. Lustrous underneath, holds color well in winter unless exposed to full sun and wind. Linear, spirally arranged (juvenile) to 2-ranked (adult) forming a V-shaped along branch, lower surface with 2 whitish glaucous bands.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Shade Tree
    Small Tree
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    All plants in this botanical group are quite poisonous if ingested but are not dangerous to handle. Nervousness, trembling, slow pulse, pupil dilation, difficult breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, convulsions; seizures, sudden death from acute heart failure.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Alkaloid taxine, Volatile oil
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Leaves
    Seeds