Taxus cuspidata

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Taxus cuspidata
Taxus cuspidata fruits.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Taxaceae
Genus: Taxus
Species: T. cuspidata
Binomial name
Taxus cuspidata
Siebold & Zucc.

Taxus cuspidata, the Japanese yew[1] or spreading yew, is a member of the genus Taxus, native to Japan, Korea, northeast China and the extreme southeast of Russia.

It is an evergreen tree or large shrub growing to 10–18 m tall, with a trunk up to 60 cm diameter. The leaves are lanceolate, flat, dark green, 1–3 cm long and 2–3 mm broad, arranged spirally on the stem, but with the leaf bases twisted to align the leaves in two flattish rows either side of the stem except on erect leading shoots where the spiral arrangement is more obvious.

The seed cones are highly modified, each cone containing a single seed 4–8 mm long partly surrounded by a modified scale which develops into a soft, bright red berry-like structure called an aril, 8–12 mm long and wide and open at the end. The arils are mature 6–9 months after pollination. Individual trees from Sikhote-Alin are known to have been 1,000 years old.[2]


It is widely grown in eastern Asia and eastern North America as an ornamental plant.


The entire yew bush is toxic enough to kill a horse, except for the fleshy berry surrounding the seed.[3] For dogs, 2/5ths of an oz per 10 pounds of body weight is lethal. It is therefore advisable to keep domestic animals away from the plant. Undomesticated animals such as elk and moose have also reportedly been poisoned by yew.[4][5]


  1. ^ "Taxus cuspidata". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 8 December 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Yew
  4. ^ "JAPANESE YEW PLANT POISONING - USA: (IDAHO) PRONGHORN ANTELOPE". ProMED-mail. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "PLANT POISONING, CERVID - USA: (ALASKA) ORNAMENTAL TREE, MOOSE". ProMED-mail. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 

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