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Similar but less problematic plants:
Cephalotaxus harringtonia Growth habit
Taxus canadensis is often confused with:
Taxus chinensis Form
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Aesculus pavia Form in bloom
Arisaema triphyllum Arisaema triphyllum
Asclepias incarnata subsp. pulchra Flowers
Taxus canadensis has some common insect problems:
Pests of Conifers
Taxus canadensis has some other problems:
White-Tailed Deer

Ground-Hemlock Taxus canadensis

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
TAKS-us ka-na-DEN-sis
Description

The Canada or American yew is a woody, needled evergreen shrub in the yew family (Taxaceae), native to central and eastern North America. It ranges from Manitoba, Minnesota, and Iowa eastward to the coast and south as far as Tennessee and the mountains of North Carolina. It has an open, sprawling habit and is sometimes referred to as ground-hemlock. The species epithet means "[found] in Canada."

The plant grows in partial to deep shade, typically in moist, cool soil, where it may stabilize soils along streams, ponds and bogs. Where its low spreading stems touch the ground, they may root and colonies can be formed. It rarely grows over 5 feet tall, with a spread of 6 to 8 feet. Propagation is by stem cuttings, best done in fall or winter.

The foliage may become reddish-brown in winter, and in summer, female plants produce red, berry-like cones.

Use this shrub in mass plantings among trees in a wooded area, on a slope or bank or riparian area.  It is also at home in a native, rain or winter garden. Of note, deer will browse this plant.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Confers like the American yew are occasionally damaged or killed by insects and spider mites. View the link, Pests of Conifers, in the sidebar to the left for details. 

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

More information on Taxus.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant leaves#shade garden#riparian#stream banks#NC native#deer browsing plant#swamps#pond garden#groundcover#wet soils tolerant#understory shrub#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant leaves#shade garden#riparian#stream banks#NC native#deer browsing plant#swamps#pond garden#groundcover#wet soils tolerant#understory shrub#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Taxus
    Species:
    canadensis
    Family:
    Taxaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and eastern North America.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Prostrate
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The seed is borne in a cup-shaped, fleshy structure called an aril, up to 3/8 inch long, maturing to bright red, open at the end and exposing the single seed in mid- to late-summer.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Male and female cones are both about 1/8 inch long, borne singly in the leaf axils usually on different branches of the same plant, occasionally on separate plants. Female cones are smaller, beginning as pointed buds and subtended by a series of small bracts. Male cones are oval-elliptic, the cone scales yellowish, the pollen sacs initially creamy colored, turning tan.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    3/8- 1-inch dark green needles attached singly in a spiral around the branch but give a flattened appearance as they project laterally only. The undersides are paler with a prominent green midvein and appearing striped.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are mostly alternate, hairless, green to yellowish when young, becoming brown to reddish-brown the second year.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Riparian
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses