The Japanese yew is a highly sought after ornamental shrub native to Japan, Korea, and some other countries in the region. It is very tolerant to pruning and is ideal for use as a hedge, backdrop for a garden, and in its native regions, particularly Japan as a bonsai tree.
|Scientific Name||Taxus cuspidata|
|Also known as||Spreading Yew, Upright Yew (in the United States), Spreading Japanese Plum Yew, Ichi-i (in Japanese)|
|Similar to||English Yew|
|Size||A variety of sizes; dwarf Japanese Yew hardly grows taller than about 2.5 feet; an upright Japanese Yew may grow more than 50 feet|
|Leaves (Needles)||Lanceolate, flat and of dark green color; 1-3 cm in length and 2-3 cm broad; arranged spirally on the stem|
|Flowers||Form on the previous years’ wood, blooming between March and April; dioecious in nature and insignificant in adding to the plant’s ornamental qualities|
|Fruits||Toxins called Taxine A and B are present; can be fatally poisonous to dogs, cats, cattle, horses, and humans|
|Distribution/Range||Japan, Korea, Northeast China and the extreme southeastern regions of Russia; also found in North America|
|Lifespan||If undisturbed, it can live for many centuries|
|Growing Conditions||Winter Conditions – Does not do well in extreme cold and snow
Summer Conditions – Best place for a Japanese yew during summer is one with morning sun and afternoon shade
Soil – Any well-drained soil, whether acidic or alkaline
Sunlight – Tolerant of full sun, part sun or part shade; trees tend to grow slowly when in the shade
Watering – Needs a moderate amount of precipitation
|Seed Production||A hard seed, covered by a red berry-like formation called an aril, which ripens between September and November|
|Seedling Development||Seeds germinate easily but slowly|
|Wildlife Value||Attracts white-tailed deer, cardinals, waxwings, and thrushes, which like to devour the poisonous berries|
|Uses||Its wood is used in making furniture, buildings (in Japan) and arts and sculptures|
|IUCN Conservation Status||Least Concern|
- Astonishingly, the oldest Japanese Yews in the Sikhote-Alin region of Russia are believed to be over 1000 years old.
- It is one of the most durable of trees, impervious to pollution and bad weather that other coniferous trees may not be able to withstand.
Published on August 1st 2016 by Sudipto Chakrabarti under Yew.
Article was last reviewed on 5th December 2022.
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