Plant DetailShow Menu

Spreading Plum Yew Cephalotaxus harringtonia

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

Cephalotaxus harringtonia is the best Taxus for the south as it tolerates the summer heat and humidity.  It prefers sandy, well-drained but moist soils and it tolerates shade better than most other needled evergreens.  Plants grown in zone 5 and lower should plant in a protected location as they are not reliably winter hardy.  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. Its texture is medium to fine, and this plant is normally wider than tall. Dioecious evergreen shrub 5-10' tall.

Family name 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

FEMALE CONES fleshy, surrounding a seed, obovoid, olive to reddish-brown at maturity. 

MALE CONES clustered on last season's branches, globular. 

Many cultivars are dwarfs to small shrubs, vegetative with female cones commonly not seen. Male cones are surrounded by bracts & next season's twigs appear to grow through them. 

Prefers shade, moist well-drained soils; used as evergreen gymnosperm for massing, accenting, substitute for junipers; tolerant sun, drought when established.

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#cpp#needled evergreen#deer resistant#fantz#humidity tolerant#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
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#cpp#needled evergreen#deer resistant#fantz#humidity tolerant#sandy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • 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
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    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 Description:
    olive-like axillary fruit on female plants red, fleshy aril nearly surrounding the green seed
  • 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
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Leaf Type:
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    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:
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Nervousness, trembling, slow pulse, pupil dilation, difficult breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, convulsions; may be fatal seizures (dogs), sudden death from acute heart failure.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Alkaloid taxine, Volatile oil
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark