English Yew

Native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, Taxus baccata ‘Repandens’ commonly named the English Yew is a slow growing, wide spreading, dwarf cultivar that can reach two to four feet high and twelve to fifteen feet wide. The Repandens cultivar of English Yew is best characterized by its sickle-shaped needles. The tops of the needles are a shiny, dark green while the underside of the needles are dull green. Another defining characteristic is the pendulous branch tips. The English Yew is well adapted for both acid soils and calcareous soils and Repandens is one of the hardiest cultivars, making it suitable for zones 5 to 7. To achieve optimal growth, English Yews prefer a sandy loam soil in a moist, well-drained environment.


Taxus baccata is easily and most commonly propagated by root cuttings. Seed propagation is not impossible but this practice is very seldom used due to the complicated dormancy requirements and slow growth rate. To maintain the health of English Yews, monitor for Taxus scale, Taxus mealybug, black vine weevil, and yew-gall midge as these are common pests that can lead to the decline of the plant’s health. Winter desiccation can occur from strong winds, so English Yews should be planted in areas shielded from strong winter winds. These plants are also extremely toxic year round to both humans and animals. Taxine causes the foliage, bark, and seeds of English Yews to be toxic.


For ornamental purposes, English Yews make an excellent landscape addition to parks, gardens, understory locations, or shaded areas. In England, this specimen is used for topiaries. The Denton Community Quad on North Campus features several English Yews within its landscape. .


Written by Lydia Printz.


The information presented above was sources from http://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/detail.php?pid=498

 and Dirr, Michael. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses. 5th ed., rev. ed., Stipes Pub, 1998