Common yew

Taxus baccata | Also known as: Yew, English Yew | Rating: 5 votes | Print / Pdf

Yew’d have to be mad not to love this stunning characterful tree which makes a fantastic hedge and can live for hundreds of years.

Taxus baccata or Common Yew is an evergreen tree that grows to 20 metres in height. The trunk can be up to 2 metres in diameter. The trunk is brown with thin bark that flakes off in scales. The leaves are dark green, thin and narrow and grow around the tree in a spiral. The leaves are highly poisonous. It grows yellow flowers in the springtime then in autumn it bears red berries. Yews are slow growing and have a long life. It's hard to determine the actual age of a yew tree as the trunks often hollow out with age making it impossible to count the rings. It is thought that some living yew trees are around 2000 years old.

Rate it:
Known dangers?
  • no
Height [m]
  • 10 - 20
Spread [m]
  • 6 - 10
Dominant flower colour
  • Yellow
Flower Fragrance
  • No, neutral please
Foliage in spring
  • Green
Foliage in summer
  • Green
Foliage in Autumn
  • Green
Foliage in winter
  • Green
  • Yes, let it smell
Propagation methods
  • semi-ripe cuttings
  • grafting
  • seed
  • Acidic
  • Neutral
  • Alkaline
Hardiness zone
  • Z5-7
Heat zone
  • H8-5
Winter temperatures [°C]
  • -29 - -12
Heat days
  • 30 - 120
  • well-drained
Soil type
  • sandy
  • Clay
  • chalky
  • loams
Sun requirements
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
  • Full shade
  • Exposed
  • Sheltered
Standard category
  • Trees & shrubs
  • Trees
Grown for
  • Ornamental berries
Creative category
  • For Beginners
  • We love the dark
  • Bonsai
  • Neighbour repellant
  • For every season
  • Author's choice
Garden type
  • Formal garden
  • Cottage garden
Garden spaces
  • Shade
  • Hedges and screens
Gardening expertise
  • beginner
Time to reach full size
  • 30 years or longer
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