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Taxus is often confused with:
Tsuga canadensis Form
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Buxus microphylla var. japonica Buxus microphylla var. japonica
Taxus x media Taxus x media
Nerium oleander Flower Form
Taxus has some common insect problems:
Black Vine Weevil

Taxus

Phonetic Spelling
TAKS-us
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

An evergreen shrub with alternating foliage seed axillary, and red, fleshy berries that nearly surrounding the green seed. Female selections are desired for their red "berries" (aril) with their contrast with deep green foliage.  A great food source for birds in the winter months. A male needs to be planted nearby for fertilization and production of the arils. 

It can withstand heavy pruning and utilized as a foundation plant, hedges, topiaries, screens, and undergrowth shrubs.  In hardiness zones 4 and lower, the foliage can burn or turn brown in the winter months.  When planted in warmer climates above zone 8 the plant can melt out in the winter.  These conditions will improve in springtime, which will coincide with the male shedding pollen from its flowers.

Regular annual pruning will help keep the desired shape as well as allow the plant to achieve a dense carpet of needles.  The optimum planting location includes part sun and part shade.  Too much shade will decrease the growth rate, while too much sun can result in the plant drying out.  This is especially crucial with young plants.

It will grow in most soils, however the proper pH is important.  A slightly acid soil is preferred, while soils high in acid will not provide optimum growing conditions.  

This plant has poison characteristics, see below.

Quick ID

  • Shrubs with spirally-arranged, short, green linear leaves with two flat rows of needles
  • Female plants with red arils

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:  Root rot, brown scale and other fungal diseases can occur when proper drainage is not provided.  Insects such as lice, mites and black vine weevil can cause issues.

Protect from strong winds that over a period of time can cause the plant to become out of the desired shape.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Taxus baccata
    Wide spreading, densely branched with many forms
  • Taxus baccata 'Amersfoort'
    Dwarf shrub with irregular habit
  • Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata'
    Narrow and columnar
  • Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata Aureomarginata'
    New growth is yellow
  • Taxus baccata 'Repandens'
    Dwarf, 2-4' tall, wide spread
  • Taxus baccata 'Repandens Aurea'
    Variegated and low growing
  • Taxus baccata 'Standishii'
    Compact with upright shoots, yellow/gold leaves
  • Taxus brevifolia Taxus brevifolia
  • Taxus brevifolia 'Erecta'
    Columnar form
  • Taxus brevifolia 'Nana'
    Dwarf form
  • Taxus brevifolia 'Nuttalii'
    Drooping form
  • Taxus canadensis Form
  • Taxus canadensis 'Stricta'
    Columnar form
  • Taxus chinensis Taxus chinensis
  • Taxus contorta
  • Taxus cuspidata Taxus cuspidata
  • Taxus cuspidata 'Aurescens'
    New growth is golden
  • Taxus cuspidata 'Capitata'
    Pyramidal habit
  • Taxus cuspidata 'Columnaris'
    Narrow habit
  • Taxus cuspidata 'Dwarf Bright Gold'
    Dwarf habit, new foliage is golden
  • Taxus cuspidata 'Nana'
    Draft habit
  • Taxus floridana
  • Taxus globosa
  • Taxus x hunnewelliana
    Cross between Japanese and Canadian yew
  • Taxus x hunnewelliana 'Globosa'
    Globe shape
  • Taxus x hunnewelliana 'Richard Horsey'
    Dwarf habit
  • Taxus x media Taxus x media
    Cross between English and Canadian yew
  • Taxus x media 'Brownii'
    Rund habit
  • Taxus x media 'Densiformis'
    Spreading habit, wider than tall
  • Taxus x media 'Hicksii'
    Columnar form
  • Taxus x media 'Tauntonii'
    Spreading habit, wider than tall
Taxus baccata, Taxus baccata 'Amersfoort', Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata', Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata Aureomarginata', Taxus baccata 'Repandens', Taxus baccata 'Repandens Aurea', Taxus baccata 'Standishii', Taxus brevifolia, Taxus brevifolia 'Erecta', Taxus brevifolia 'Nana', Taxus brevifolia 'Nuttalii', Taxus canadensis, Taxus canadensis 'Stricta', Taxus chinensis, Taxus contorta, Taxus cuspidata, Taxus cuspidata 'Aurescens', Taxus cuspidata 'Capitata', Taxus cuspidata 'Columnaris', Taxus cuspidata 'Dwarf Bright Gold', Taxus cuspidata 'Nana', Taxus floridana, Taxus globosa, Taxus x hunnewelliana, Taxus x hunnewelliana 'Globosa', Taxus x hunnewelliana 'Richard Horsey', Taxus x media, Taxus x media 'Brownii', Taxus x media 'Densiformis', Taxus x media 'Hicksii', Taxus x media 'Tauntonii'
Tags:
#evergreen#poisonous#drought tolerant#shrub#conifer#tsc#hedges#cpp#poisonous fruits#dioecious#long lifespan#fantz#evergreen shrub#evergreen tree#tsc-cg#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#shrub borders#wet soils intolerant#tree#hedge
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Taxus baccata
    Wide spreading, densely branched with many forms
  • Taxus baccata 'Amersfoort'
    Dwarf shrub with irregular habit
  • Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata'
    Narrow and columnar
  • Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata Aureomarginata'
    New growth is yellow
  • Taxus baccata 'Repandens'
    Dwarf, 2-4' tall, wide spread
  • Taxus baccata 'Repandens Aurea'
    Variegated and low growing
  • Taxus baccata 'Standishii'
    Compact with upright shoots, yellow/gold leaves
  • Taxus brevifolia Taxus brevifolia
  • Taxus brevifolia 'Erecta'
    Columnar form
  • Taxus brevifolia 'Nana'
    Dwarf form
  • Taxus brevifolia 'Nuttalii'
    Drooping form
  • Taxus canadensis Form
  • Taxus canadensis 'Stricta'
    Columnar form
  • Taxus chinensis Taxus chinensis
  • Taxus contorta
  • Taxus cuspidata Taxus cuspidata
  • Taxus cuspidata 'Aurescens'
    New growth is golden
  • Taxus cuspidata 'Capitata'
    Pyramidal habit
  • Taxus cuspidata 'Columnaris'
    Narrow habit
  • Taxus cuspidata 'Dwarf Bright Gold'
    Dwarf habit, new foliage is golden
  • Taxus cuspidata 'Nana'
    Draft habit
  • Taxus floridana
  • Taxus globosa
  • Taxus x hunnewelliana
    Cross between Japanese and Canadian yew
  • Taxus x hunnewelliana 'Globosa'
    Globe shape
  • Taxus x hunnewelliana 'Richard Horsey'
    Dwarf habit
  • Taxus x media Taxus x media
    Cross between English and Canadian yew
  • Taxus x media 'Brownii'
    Rund habit
  • Taxus x media 'Densiformis'
    Spreading habit, wider than tall
  • Taxus x media 'Hicksii'
    Columnar form
  • Taxus x media 'Tauntonii'
    Spreading habit, wider than tall
Taxus baccata, Taxus baccata 'Amersfoort', Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata', Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata Aureomarginata', Taxus baccata 'Repandens', Taxus baccata 'Repandens Aurea', Taxus baccata 'Standishii', Taxus brevifolia, Taxus brevifolia 'Erecta', Taxus brevifolia 'Nana', Taxus brevifolia 'Nuttalii', Taxus canadensis, Taxus canadensis 'Stricta', Taxus chinensis, Taxus contorta, Taxus cuspidata, Taxus cuspidata 'Aurescens', Taxus cuspidata 'Capitata', Taxus cuspidata 'Columnaris', Taxus cuspidata 'Dwarf Bright Gold', Taxus cuspidata 'Nana', Taxus floridana, Taxus globosa, Taxus x hunnewelliana, Taxus x hunnewelliana 'Globosa', Taxus x hunnewelliana 'Richard Horsey', Taxus x media, Taxus x media 'Brownii', Taxus x media 'Densiformis', Taxus x media 'Hicksii', Taxus x media 'Tauntonii'
Tags:
#evergreen#poisonous#drought tolerant#shrub#conifer#tsc#hedges#cpp#poisonous fruits#dioecious#long lifespan#fantz#evergreen shrub#evergreen tree#tsc-cg#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#shrub borders#wet soils intolerant#tree#hedge
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Taxus
    Family:
    Taxaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Japan, Korea and Manchuria
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Easy to Grow
    Screening
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Called arils, the fruits are hidden in the foliage until fall when they turn a bright red.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate & spirally arranged, linear, and subcoriaceous. They are dark green, glossy, abruptly acute & pointed, paler green below with 2 yellowish-green bands.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    The reddish-brown, thin bark will become scaly and or fibrous.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The hairless stems appear in an alternate form. New stems are green, and become a reddish-brown as they mature.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Pool/Hardscape
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Nervousness, trembling, slow pulse, pupil dilation, seizures (dogs), difficult breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, convulsions; may be fatal. Early signs: muscular tremors, dyspnea, seizures in dogs.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Alkaloid taxine
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Seeds