Yew Taxus canadensis
Family: Taxaceae (Yew)
Branching: Evergreen

Although this species is native to eastern North America, it has become quite rare in spots due to overbrowsing.  Most people are familiar with Yews from introduced ornamental species.  They have flattened needles that resemble Fir and Hemlock, though they are green on both sides (though they are a lighter green underneath).  The fruits are very distinctive when in season.  They are a red, fleshy "aril" that is open at the end.  Sometimes the seeds can be found in the winter still on the plants.  They typically are a low-growing shrub, about the height of a person and quite dense.  Though they can be taller, and often quite short (when they can resemble Juniper)

Branch and needles of Yew, showing the underside of the needles

Another view of the needles.  They are a darker green on top than underneath.

Another view of the twig

Needles and stem.  Yew has vertical lines along the stem, similar to Spruces

Another view of the twig

A seed remaining in the winter.  They hang under the branch and are contained by a
red fleshy aril in the growing season.

Mature bark

An older twig, having lost the vertical ridges

The mature form of Yew.

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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