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Home / Nature - Plants / Identifying Trees / Yew / Common or English Yew (Taxus baccata L.)
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Common or English Yew (Taxus baccata L.)


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This slow growing conifer tree is now protected in many countries. It was extensively used in the past to make bows and arrows and expensive furniture. Its slow growth meant that it slowly disappeared from many areas. It can still be found in Southern England in woods and particularly in protected areas, such as Church yards. It grows up to 20 metres and can live for up to 1000 years. It flowers in March and in Autumn produces poisonous bright red fruits on female trees, as the yew is a dioecious species (with separate male and female plants). Many churchyards have Yew trees as they were thought to protect people from unquiet spirits and witches. Old houses often have either a yew tree or a holly bush growing next to the main entrance for protective purposes. This tree was pictured in Stagsden Church yard in Bedfordshire- mid November 2005.

7th Nov 2005 by Diane Earl

Biology, Science

Key Stages:
Foundation, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

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