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Plants that fill a similar niche:
Taxus x media Taxus x media
Taxus Taxus spp.
Rhododendron maximum Rhododendron maximum
Taxus brevifolia has some common insect problems:
Asiatic Garden Beetle

Mountain Mahogany Taxus brevifolia

Other plants called Mountain Mahogany:

Previously known as:

  • Taxus baccata ssp. brevifolia
  • Taxus baccatra var. brevifolia
  • Taxus boursieri
  • Taxus lindleyana
Phonetic Spelling
TAKS-us brev-ee-FOH-lee-uh
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Pacific Yew is an evergreen conifer native to the Pacific Northwest of North America. Its native locations include dense forests, along stream banks, slopes, ravines, coves and flats. 

The timber from this tree is heavy, hard and strong. Although it has minimal commercial use, it is often used for making fence posts, tool handles and canoe paddles.  It's an excellent choice for articles that are turned on a lathe, and takes a finish well.

Has been referred to as 'bow plant'.  It's durable, elastic texture made it a great choice when making bows. It was also used by Native Americans in battle to make spear handles and clubs.  Harpoons used for hunting seals was another use for the wood.

In England, history referred to this tree as the 'graveyard tree' due to its toxic nature.  Its red fruits are especially attractive to children and livestock.  It's said that it has been used as a means of suicide during wartimes.  

When growing in dense forested locations, where a closed canopy exists, it will grow as a tree. In dryer, more open spaces its habit will be more like a shrub.  In these instances, it can form broad mats that will grow much wider than tall.  

It has evergreen needles and bright red fruits.  It grows as an understory in fir, hemlock, and vine maple forests.  In some locations it can be found covered with moss and/or lichens.

The foliage is poisonous when consumed by horses and cattle.  This is particularly an issue when the foliage is allowed to rot.

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  This very slow growing conifer has been known to rot from the inside, which in turn creates a hollow tree.  

Needle blight and root disease are diseases that can affect the plants health.  Insect issues include grape mealybug, bud worm and Asiatic beetle.

More information on Taxus.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#poisonous#native tree#conifer#native shrub#shade garden#understory tree#wind tolerant#prickly#evergreen shrub#evergreen tree#understory planting#dry soils tolerant#understory shrub#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#poisonous to livestock#poisonous if ingested#native
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#poisonous#native tree#conifer#native shrub#shade garden#understory tree#wind tolerant#prickly#evergreen shrub#evergreen tree#understory planting#dry soils tolerant#understory shrub#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#poisonous to livestock#poisonous if ingested#native
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Taxus
    Species:
    brevifolia
    Family:
    Taxaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The wood is strong and resists decay is used to make fence posts, canoe paddles, tool handles. Native Americans used the wood to make spear handles, harpoons, poles, and eating utensils. It was used by the Salish people to make bows and is still used in bow making today.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Alaska to western U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    AK, CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Deer, elk, and moose browse on this plant. Fruits are enjoyed by songbirds. It is a host plant for the Mottled Gray Carpet, Common Eupithacia and the Fall Webworm moths.
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Easy to Grow
    Shade
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Thorns
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a fleshy oblong berry-like cone that contains one seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The small, yellow, male flowers are found on the underside of the foliage.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The flat needles arranged in a spiral fashion around the stem. They are a yellow-green on the upper side and a lighter green on the underside. The tips of the needles are a sharp, slender point.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    The bark is thin and scaly, with the outer scales purplish to purple-brown, the inner scales are red to red-purple.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Screen/Privacy
    Understory Tree
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Dry Soil
    Heavy Shade
    Wind
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain, and weak muscles.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Taxine
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Leaves
    Seeds