Talk:Taxus baccata

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Irish yew[edit]

The Irish Yew that is illustrated at Kenilworth may be T. baccata but it is not the selection called 'Fastigiata' --as a little reflection makes clear. --Wetman 16:33, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

It is; this cultivar gets quite wide with age, as side branches splay out with their weight (particularly after heavy snow) then each shoot on the bent branch turns upward. Specimens in England (where winters are colder and snowier) get broader than specimens in Ireland (where snow is rare) (ref., A. F. Mitchell, Conifers in the British Isles) - MPF 01:02, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
The descriptor "fastigiata" means "narrowly upright in growth"; whatever happens to fastigiate yews in advanced age, this is an illustration that will tend to be misleading, handsome though it may be. --04:42, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
The illustration is labelled "irish yew" but the file is called "english yew", is this a mistake or are they synonymous? I labelled it dubious. Matthewcgirling (talk) 09:35, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Literary references[edit]

The list of literary references (which could go on for ever) tells the reader nothing more about the yew or its symbolism. I suggest scrapping it unless anyone can add something of significance.--Shantavira 15:12, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

I added the Gunnar D. Hansson literary reference which does add something of significance: a 200 page book about the yew tree, the book meanders from the islands off the western coast of Sweden (where yews grow) to the significance of the yew to humans for the last few millenia. Vidyadhara 10:13, 14 May 2007 (UTC)::
I've cut a couple of the more trivial ones, and tried to arrange the rest in (very roughly!) chronological order. Maybe more should be cut. - MPF 21:26, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Video Games[edit]

I removed: "Video Game Reference Yew trees are also found in Runescape; a player needing level 60 woodcutting to cut one."

from the page. It had been added as the first entry in this article about a plant and does not seem to be notable. Perhaps the Runescape page, which I've not gone to if there even is one, should link here, but this single sentence is really silly. Crocadillion 14:54, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Cure for AIDS?![edit]

I removed: "There are rumors that yew roots can be prepared into a cure for AIDS, but this has yet to be tested."

Unreferenced, and absurd. --JMB (talk) 13:17, 5 March 2008 (UTC)


According to W. J. Stokoe in The Oberver's Book of Trees and Shrubs (Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd., no date given), p. 194, "Yew-berries are not poisonous, as sometimes supposed; neither is the contained kernel, which has a pleasant nutty flavour." As to the leaves, Stokoe says, "it appears that if eaten in large quantities they will prove fatal to man, cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and possibly other animals, but small quantities of the leaves are usually harmless." (I have tested these statements and lived to tell the tale.) Kostaki mou (talk) 04:25, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

No, you're a lucky guy. Yew seeds contain taxanes and they are potentially lethally poisonous. However, the amount of poison released & absorbed depends on whether or not the seeds are chewed or swallowed. If you don't chew, allot less toxin is released so you survive. See:
Appendino, G. (1993-04-01). "Taxanes from the Seeds of Taxus baccata". Journal of Natural Products. 56 (4): 514–520. doi:10.1021/np50094a010.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
Businessman committed suicide by eating graveyard yew seeds
--Diamonddavej (talk) 20:58, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
If you will check out the story, you will see that the businessman in question at enormous quantities of the seeds (something like 400). (I ate only one at a time and did indeed chew them. They did indeed have a pleasant nutlike flavor. In fact, they were the only part of the tree at all worth bothering with. (The leaves are extremely bitter and the berries taste terrible.) However, it is certainly best to err on the side of caution.) Kostaki mou (talk) 21:26, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

I've eaten large quantities of yew fruits, removing it from the seeds using the teeth. Nothing happened. How this is explained I've yet to work out. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:41, 21 April 2010 (UTC).

citing A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs 2nd edition by George A Petrides. regarding the American yew Taxus Canadensis "Despite reports that twigs,foliage,and seeds may be poisonous to livestock, the berries are eaten by birds and foliage is a preferred food of deer and moose. " (talk) 08:43, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Which part of the yew seed (the shell or the kernel) is more toxic? --Djadjko (talk) 01:16, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

Yew wood as air cleanser?[edit]

Russian and Ukrainian articles mention that yew wood is bactericidal and if used in a building (e.g. on ceiling) has very beneficial effect on air quality, essentially killing airborne bacteria, and because of this was valued as building material in Middle Ages. Anything to support or refute this claim in English language sources? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:40, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Inconsistant info within article[edit]

The "threatened" meter in the box on the right shows "least concern" but the paragraph on clippings being used to plant a hedge implies they're threatened. What's the deal? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Riventree (talkcontribs) 00:26, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Suicide by yew[edit]

I removed the following statement from the Toxicity section, regarding human poisoning:

Cases, however, are increasing as information on Yew toxicity is disseminated across 'suicide' websites.

The claim provided no citation, nor could I find a source that said that death by yew poisoning, intentional or otherwise, was in any way on the upswing. Richigi (talk) 04:06, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

Someone add that the berries are poisonous!!![edit]

This is a really big point that was not mentioned in this article and I feel it is very important. Can someone add this in as I am to lazy to! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:39, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Citation about Odin[edit]

In Taxus baccata entry there is "citation needed" after the phrase: "This has some similarities with the story that Odin had a revelation (the wisdom of the runes) after having been hanging from the tree for nine days."

In Odin entry at Wikipedia it says: "In Rúnatal, a section of the Hávamál, Odin is attributed with discovering the runes. In a sacrifice to himself, the highest of the gods, he was hanged from the world tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nights, pierced by his own spear, in order to learn the wisdom that would give him power in the nine worlds."

I think it could be easily completed with citation (sorry, can't do it myself).

--Filoberto (talk) 09:23, 29 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for your suggestion, Filoberto! Unfortunately, I took a look at the [[Odin]], and the quote given above there was unsourced as well. Therefore, I added a {{citation needed}} template. I can try to look for a source when I have time, but hopefully some other knowledgeable editors can help with the matter as well! Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 17:25, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

on the subject of Asken Yggdrasil and norse mythology[edit]

Quite frankly, I would like to see all content relating to norse religion and mythology either removed from this article or clearly marked as speculations in conflict with more widely accepted knowledge and views on Norse religion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tvivigg (talkcontribs) 10:15, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Insect toxicity[edit]

Is yew wood toxic for termites? --Djadjko (talk) 22:49, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

Case report[edit]

Not often you read about an incident in the news about it. Not sure if it would be useful in the article, but here's the link. MartinezMD (talk) 17:40, 23 December 2016 (UTC)