General information

What is a yew: description with photos, types of yew, where it grows and what is useful


The bark is red-brown or reddish, scaly. The branches do not form whorls, for example, as in some other conifers. On upward-directed shoots, the leaves are arranged spirally; on horizontal shoots they are double-rowed, comb-like, linear, sometimes sickle-shaped. Leaves above with a midrib, and below - with two broad light green or yellow stripes.

In nature, yew is very rare. In Georgia, along the Batsara gorge, there is the largest grove of yew berry. In the Caucasus, there is a protected yew-boxwood grove. Ukraine is a yew reserve. In Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, all yew trees are taken under protection. In total, there are about 30 thousand yew berry in Russia.

Tiss is distinguished by a dense crown of trees, with a whorled arrangement of branches, rather slow growth, extraordinary longevity (lives about 3,000 years) and fairly easy rooting of cuttings. Among tree species, yew takes the first place in shade tolerance. It develops well in illuminated places, prefers moist air and fresh, calcareous soils.

Need to know - all parts of this plant are poisonous., and only Prissemyannik is harmless.

Yew berry

The yew berry is a slow-growing coniferous tree about 15 m high, with a broad crown, soft branching shoots and reddish bark.

Depending on the variety, the trees may have a different location. Needles are flat, reach a length of 3 cm, dark green, pointed, the inner surface is yellowish-green.

Yew berry blooms in March, little decorative flowers. Male flowers resemble cones in the axils of the leaves, female flowers - buds. After flowering, bright red fruits are formed.

At one time, yew berry was often found in the forests of Central Europe, but is currently protected by law as a very rare species.

A large number of varieties of yew berry, varying in shape and size, with golden-yellow or dark green needles were bred.

Yew spiky

Yew peaked grows on Sakhalin, in the Primorsky Territory, in Manchuria, Japan, Korea. The tree is about 20 m tall, with an ovoid-oval crown. At the northern borders of the distribution takes a creeping, dwarf form. The bark of the yew is pointed brownish-red, with yellow-white spots. The needles are sharply pointed in a short spike, slightly lighter than that of yew.

On the upper side, the needles are dull green, below it is light green, with two brownish-yellow stripes, slightly turning brown in autumn. Prissemyannik pale pink, elliptical, with a whitish bloom, captures the seed to half its length.

It is frost-resistant, rather than the yew berry, it tolerates frosts up to 40 ° C, it is not demanding to soils, it is drought-resistant. It tolerates pruning. Shade-tolerant and gas-resistant. It grows very slowly. Durable, lives about 1500 years. Goes well with hardwoods. Suitable for single as well as group landings.

Tiss average

The yew average takes an intermediate place between the pointed and berry yew. Growth is more powerful than that of berry yew. Old branches are olive-green, they become reddish in the sun.

Shoots ascending upwards. The needles resemble the needles of a pointed yew, but the needles are clearly two-rowed. The central vein is more pronounced than that of yew berry. The needles are from 1.3 to 2.7 cm long, about 0.3 cm wide. They bear fruit annually. Seeds ripen in August, September. Drought resistant Frost resistant

Another advantage of this medium yew is the ease of reproduction by cuttings. It is used in different garden compositions, in groups or singly.

Yew canadian

Tiss Canadian grows in eastern North America. It grows in the undergrowth of coniferous forests.

Kustovidnoe, low tree, about 1-2 m tall, usually supine, sometimes with young shoots and with ascending branches. The needles are sickle-curved, shortly pointed, on short petioles, yellow-green above, pale-green below, with pale green stripes. This canadian winter-hardy, can withstand temperatures as low as -35 ° C.

Yew is short

The short-leaved yew grows in the western part of North America along the coast of the Pacific Ocean and along mountain ranges, from 35-55 ° north latitude. It grows along the banks of streams, rivers, lakeside lowlands, deep gorges, mountain slopes on rich and drained soils. It can grow alone or in groups in the second tier of the forests of the great fir, hemlock raznivolistnoy, western larch and mountain gray pine.

A bush or a tree, from 5 to 15 (25) m in height is slow-growing, the crown is wide-pinto, the branches are upright from the trunk, thin, the bark peels off, the branches are hanging, the kidney scales are pointed. Double-row needles are about cm long and from 2 mm wide, yellowish-green, sharply tapering, ovoid seeds, about 5 mm long, the seed coat is intensely red.

Yew is an unpretentious plant, it develops on any soil, but prefers fertile loamy soil. Overwinter on poor sandy soils. Growing yew is possible on sunny and shady places. In shade tolerance, yew exceeds most woody plants. Also yew resistant to low temperatures.

Use of yew

Yew looks beautiful in various decorative compositions. From the yew it is possible to create a hedge - it perfectly tolerates a haircut or decorate it with a large or small rock garden. Yew is very widely used in regular gardens.

Spectacular compositions with yews are obtained in combination with coniferous plants and rhododendrons.

What does yew look like

Telling what a yew is, first of all it is necessary to mention its appearance. This coniferous, and therefore, an evergreen plant. In private plots, you can usually see low plants — no more than 1–1.5 m of plants, while in nature they reach heights of 10 meters and even more.

Surprisingly, unlike most plants, which can be clearly attributed to trees or shrubs, the yew does not have such a clear separation. There are breeds that belong to one and another category.

Unlike many conifers, such as cedar, pine or spruce, the yew is multi-topped. That is growing not only up, but also to the side. The needles are flat and rather soft, mostly dark green. The length can reach 3-3.5 cm, but in many varieties is much shorter.

It is a dioecious plant, which means that there are trees, both male and female. When cross-pollination on the last red berries are formed. Yes, if the majority of coniferous plants bear fruit, the fruits of the yew are the stone fruits. On the branches, they hold until late autumn, crumbling only after the onset of severe cold weather.

The bark is grayish-red - the shade can vary considerably depending on the variety, as well as growing conditions.

There is one more interesting feature about which people who are interested in what is a yew should be aware of. Although it belongs to coniferous trees, its wood does not contain resin at all. Therefore, in areas where it grows, there is no steady corresponding odor, which is far from being enjoyed by all people.

Now you know the description of the tree, and the photo of the yew, used as illustrations to the article, will allow you to get a more accurate picture of this amazing plant. Consequently, it will be much easier to decide whether to grow it on the site or give preference to other, more interesting crops.

Natural range

Of course, many plant lovers are interested in where the yew tree grows. It all depends on the particular variety. For example, yew can be found in Canada and the northwestern United States. Yew berry grows almost throughout Western Europe, and is also found in Ukraine, the Caucasus, Syria, Asia Minor and the Azores. Pointed yew grows in China, Japan and Korea.

Quite often, one can hear the question of why the plant (yew) does not grow in the steppe. There are several reasons for this. One of them is very slow growth. Yes, to grow only a meter, some varieties take up to 30 years! As a result, grass, actively growing in the steppe, just smothers him. The yew does not have time to strengthen sufficiently, to acquire a powerful root system, thanks to which it would receive nutrients from a great depth, where the roots of the grass do not grow. As a result - the plant dies.

Another reason is strong winds that are not uncommon in the steppe. Adult yew boasts solid wood, but young plants are much more fragile. Strong winds simply break it or are uprooted, preventing it from becoming stronger.

Some flora lovers also wonder where yew grows in Russia. Trees of different varieties can be seen, for example, in the Southern Crimea (berry yew) and on the Kuriles (spiky). In the central part of our country, it is found only in artificial conditions.

Most common types

As mentioned above, different varieties of yew can be very different from each other. Therefore, to talk about several of the most common types will be quite useful.

For example, the berry yew, growing in Europe and therefore often referred to as European, is a tall coniferous plant. It is also growing in the European part of Russia - for example, in the Kaliningrad region. Quite often berry yew is found in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha. But when he met in the Caucasus, it would be difficult to identify him - here he resembles rather a tall shrub, and not a tree. Mount Akhun (between Adler and Sochi) is famous for its relict yew-boxwood grove. It is difficult to establish how many thousands of years ago some of its inhabitants sprouted from seed. In 1931, the grove became a reserve, and in recent years has come under the protection of UNESCO.

Depending on the particular variety, the shape may be different - prostrate, creeping, squat, dwarf, or columnar.

For example, the variety Elegantissima has a unique feature - it does not apply to evergreens. Closer to the winter, his needles turn white, which gives him a special refinement and refinement. But Russian frosts, he can not move. Therefore, in the winter it is very important to warm it well, otherwise the plant may not hold out until spring. Now you know where the yew grows and how it looks. So, you can go to the less well-known varieties.

Pointed yew is also very different - there are both very high varieties and ordinary semi-dwarf shrubs. Only an experienced gardener can determine at a glance that two completely different trees are representatives of the same species. One of the main advantages of this type is frost resistance. Therefore, many owners of cottages and private houses in central Russia prefer to grow it - it’s not necessary to bother once again, fearing that the plant will freeze in the winter.

Canadian yew is found in our country very rarely - only in special nurseries. Even under good conditions, it does not grow high. But frost resistance leaves no doubt - after all, he survived in the harsh climate of Canada, so in most regions of our country he will feel at home.

What benefits does it bring?

Since ancient times, people have studied this amazing plant well and widely used in various spheres of life. For example, in the military. That yew was one of the best materials for creating bows. Elastic, durable, but at the same time quite flexible, he perfectly met all the requirements of experienced archers.

Although its wood is not impregnated with resin, like most coniferous plants, yews are perfectly resistant to rot. Even in conditions of high humidity, he is able to serve the owner for many decades, while maintaining the original strength and elasticity. Mold does not appear on it, which is a real scourge for most types of wood.

But much more interesting is the peculiarity to resist various infectious diseases. Bactericidal properties were well known to ancestors already thousands of years ago, although they did not know such tricky words. But the fact that many of the sarcophagi in which the pharaohs were buried in ancient Egypt were made of yew - a fact well known to science. It is not surprising, because in Egypt the yew was considered a tree of eternal rest. Hardly such a “title” was assigned to him by chance.

Unfortunately, relatively late, people noticed that most of the infections were avoided by the side of the house, the floors or furniture in which were made of yew wood. If this discovery could have been made earlier, then it is quite possible that there would simply not be many epidemics that claimed millions of lives in history.

Alas, it is the high quality of wood and its unique properties that led to the yew being massively cut down in different countries of the world. To date, it is listed in the Red Book, and it is unknown whether it will be deleted from there. Still, it grows very slowly, and the growing conditions are quite demanding.

How many years he lives

But if you answer the question "how many yews grow," many people, including those who know about long-lived trees, will surely be surprised. In its natural habitat, this tree lives on average 1.5-4 thousand years. Just imagine, many inconspicuous trees, having a height of only 10-15 meters, caught the time when Ancient Greece had not yet reached dawn, and no one had even heard of the powerful Roman Empire!

And this is not the limit. For example, one of the most ancient yew trees in the world grows in Scotland. As established by experts, its age is about 9 thousand years! Just imagine, he was proclaimed from a seed at a time when no more than 5 million people lived on the whole earth. Mankind only mastered agriculture.

But the highest of the famous yews, until recently, grew up in southern Georgia, and more precisely in Adjara. Its height was 32.5 meters! Knowing how fast the berry yew grows (which is only 2-3 centimeters per year under favorable conditions), one can calculate how old he was. Alas, today he has died due to unclear circumstances.


Now it is necessary to briefly talk about the methods of reproduction. If you do not want to lose extra time, wanting to immediately get a relatively adult plant on the site, it is better to choose cuttings. To do this, a healthy, strong plant should be cut off one of the branches, which descends into the water, and after the emergence of sprouts, it is planted in the ground.

However, this method, though winning in speed, loses in viability. Therefore, experts recommend breeding yew from seeds. Yes, in this case you will lose 3-5 years. But on the other hand, plants grown from seeds are distinguished by greater endurance, strength, and ability to adapt to the environment.

To do this, just collect the right amount of berries from a suitable tree. It is very important to stratify them, or, more simply, freeze. The seeds are frozen together with berries starting from September at a temperature of about 3-5 degrees and for 7 months. The easiest way is to wrap them in a piece of newspaper and put them in the fridge. Stratified seeds germinate in about 2 months - the process is not very fast. But if they are not frozen, but kept in a warm place, then they will sprout only after a year, or even after three.

However, some people prefer to simply buy ready-made seedlings. They cost relatively little - most often from 500 to 1000 rubles, depending on the variety and the specific nursery. This approach will save 10 or even 20 years. But in this case, it is desirable for them to provide special care, to ensure that the plant grows in precisely such conditions as it is accustomed to.

The choice of a suitable place should be approached very seriously and responsibly. Still, you plant a plant that can live a thousand years and even more! It will be very disappointing if it dies after a few decades.

The yew is unpretentious to the soil as a whole - it grows well on both high-quality black soil and stones, although the growth rate and size under such different conditions will vary considerably. The only requirement is that the soil should not be too acidic. Otherwise, the plant will wither away pretty quickly, or it will simply hurt often.

The distance between the holes can vary significantly. For example, if you plan to plant yew rocks belonging to the bushes, in time to form an elegant living fence of them, which you can trim and give it a suitable shape, then the optimum distance should be 50-70 centimeters. With such a distance, the branches will soon intertwine and create a smart, dense fence. But if you have long dreamed of growing a chic yew tree on your plot that will remain for your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, then there must be emptiness around at all levels around the hole - at least 1.5-2 meters. After all, the tree, though it grows very slowly, but needs space.

But the sunny areas, unlike most plants, yew does not like. It would be better if another, older tree grows nearby, protecting the sapling from direct sunlight in the first years of life. Shadows yew is not afraid at all, being a shade-tolerant plant. Можете не волноваться, что впоследствии близость молодого и старого деревьев доставит проблемы – когда тис серьезно вырастет, второе дерево наверняка уже погибнет.

В особом поливе не нуждается. Only in the first three or four years - and then, if the earth is very dry due to the complete lack of rain. The plant does not like excessive moisture. And the grown yew has a very powerful, deep-seated root system, which allows extracting necessary substances from the soil, including moisture.

In winter, some varieties of yew can cause unnecessary trouble. Not all trees can survive the harsh Russian winter. How to determine whether you need to think about warming? First you need to know where the green pet came from, where it grows. The photo and description of the yew tree will help identify it, if you can not find out from the seller. Those varieties that need warming, first you need to cover with spruce branches or hay. When enough snow falls, you can also fall asleep on top of the insulation to provide reliable protection from the cold wind.

Well, if you choose low-growing varieties, then problems, most likely, will not arise. The snow will quickly cover the plant, protecting it from frost.

However, there is another problem. When the temperature is low, the branches and the trunk of the young yew become cold - with a slight load they may well break. To avoid this, it is advisable to wrap the bush with non-woven material or to put special supports. Then the snow accumulated on top does not harm him.

Possible danger

Telling what a yew is and what features it possesses, it is impossible not to mention the possible danger. The fact is that wood and berries are poisonous. Yes, it’s enough to eat just a few small berries to get to the hospital with serious poisoning.

Juice also contains toxic substances. It is no coincidence that many gardeners who care for a yew tree, pruning its crown, often complain of a headache. No wonder - when cutting branches, juice is released, which quickly evaporates and affects the person. And the older the tree becomes, the higher the concentration of poison in its juice.

It is no coincidence that in the old times the cunning way of killing political opponents was used more than once - they were presented with wine in a cup made of old yew. The taste and smell of wine did not change, but it became poisonous and killed a person - rather quickly and efficiently.

Because of this, it even appeared a belief that the shadow of a yew is also poisonous - a person who went to sleep under a yew risked not waking up. Perhaps this could hardly have happened. But a person could well wake up with a head splitting from pain.

Therefore, if children live in your house, seriously consider whether it is worth growing on a plot of yew. It may be better to choose safer plants.

Types and varieties of yew with description and photo

The plant yew (Taxus), also called yew, is a member of the Yew family. This genus includes about 8 species of conifers and shrubs, characterized by slow growth. 3 species are found in Asia, including in the Far East, 1 species - in northern Africa and in Europe, and 4 species - in North America. This culture enjoys great popularity among gardeners, it is used in landscape design, as yew is unpretentious and highly decorative, but in natural conditions this plant is less and less common every year.

Yew Features

Representatives of the genus Tees are dioecious plants. The brown-red bark of such a plant is scaly. The crown has an ovoid-cylindrical shape, often it is multi-vertex. The branches are placed on the trunk turbidly. The flat and soft needles are colored dark green, they are placed on the lateral branches in two rows, and on the stems - spirally. The needles in length can reach 20–35 mm. The formation of red fruits is observed on female trees, such berries remain on the branches until the winter period. The height of the shrub yew is almost never more than 10 m, while the tree-like species can be higher than 20–30 m, and its trunk in diameter reaches 4 meters. In such a plant, wood has antibacterial properties, since it contains many phytoncides. It is used to make furniture or floors in the house, due to which it is possible to protect the home from infections. Due to the fact that this plant has such valuable wood, popularly referred to as "Negnus-tree", it fell into the Red Book.

A yew can live for about three thousand years, and it differs in that it is able to recover rapidly after pruning, so that a gardener can create various forms from his crown. Another such culture is different in that it is the most shade-loving, but it also grows very well in sunny areas. If you decide to grow yew, then remember that all its parts contain poison.

Secrets of growth and decoration

Yews of this species love moderate humidity. Watering is done on average once a month as needed. One tree has 6-10 liters of water. In rainy weather, the volume of applied water is reduced, and in arid it is increased. Care must be taken to ensure that the ground is not over-wetted. After watering, the soil is loosened to a depth of 10-15 cm and covered with mulch to preserve moisture. In addition to the timely introduction of moisture required periodic spraying of needles. In the summer season, the procedure is carried out 1-2 times a month.

Young seedlings are influenced by low temperatures, so they need to be covered for the winter. Mature trees do not need protection. With the onset of spring, the young needles can get burned due to the bright sun. It is better to cover the trees with kraft paper.

Top dressing should be introduced with the onset of spring, so that the ephedra begins to grow more actively. Ordinary mineral complexes for conifers are suitable for berry yews. Amount of fertilizer - 70 g per 1 m 2. You can fertilize annually with overheated organics or liquid mullein.

Pruning begins in the second year of life, is carried out throughout the season, except for winter. Dried and damaged branches are removed completely. Unnecessary shoots are shortened by a third. The older the tree, the larger the pruning procedure. Yews form new shoots throughout their life, therefore they tolerate pruning well and can recover quickly if they are removed unnecessarily.

  • Crown yellowing

The ephedra is considered moderately capricious, with proper planting and care, it decorates the backyard territory for a long time. As the yew grows, a novice gardener may encounter several problems:

  1. Yellowing of the needles is possible for several reasons. The first is the seasonal dying off of the needles. Remove dead needles better in spring. The second reason is the lack of moisture during the growth period. Drought has a detrimental effect on plants that have suffered badly during the winter, as well as on young specimens. Another reason is hot weather and excess sun. Needles can burn in young plants, they are best sheltered from the spring sun.
  2. Pests - yew leaves and false guard. From insects helps processing 2% solution of karbofos. Spraying with nitrofen and other fungicides will be effective.

Beautiful but poisonous

No matter how beautiful the garden yew is, it presents a danger that needs to be remembered. Due to the poisonous properties, yews are rarely chosen for landscaping areas accessible to pets and children. The needles and pits of the fruit contain the dangerous substance takin, which can cause respiratory and cardiac arrest, at best - indigestion, loss of consciousness.

The older the tree becomes, the stronger the poisonous effect. The only harmless part is the red flesh of the cone-berries, which is why the birds eat the fruits. Yew is safe for deer and hares, animals feed on its branches. It is not recommended to harvest the flesh independently, as the bones also contain poison.

Interestingly, taksin is used for medical purposes for the production of anticancer drugs.

Because of the unusual properties, only confident and experienced gardeners choose berry yews for planting at the site. With proper care, graceful columnar-shaped giants or compact creeping bushes grow from young saplings.