Taxus brevifolia
Common name: 
Pacific Yew
Western Yew
TAKS-us brev-i-FO-lee-a
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen tree/shrub, spreading, 40-50(80) ft [12-15(24) m] high.  Bark about 5 mm thick, with thin, dark red-purple scales.   Needles radially arranged around the stem but appearing more or less 2 ranked, 1-2.5 cm long, linear, tapering to a horny point, yellow-green above, paler below, short yellow petiole.  Dioecious - male and female plants.  Cone (aril) is fleshy, scarlet, oblong-oval, 4-7 mm long, enclosing a single-seed. Seeds are poisonous.
  • Sun or shade.  An understory tree found in moist, well-drained soil.  Very slow growing.  In western Oregon forests it is often covered with lichens and mosses.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4     Native range from extreme southeastern Alaska to northern California, and east to northeastern Oregon, northern Idaho, and western Montana.
  • Seeds are poisonous to humans, but birds consume them.  The foliage is poisonous to horses and cattle, especially if left to rot (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994).
  • The bark and other parts of the tree contain an anti-cancer drug, taxol, which is also found in related yew species.
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: east side of "arboretum" south of Moreland Hall (2013) and in the court yard of the Dorm Quad (Buxton, etc.) on Jefferson Ave. west of 26th St. (2013).
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • plant habit, in a landscape

    plant habit, in a landscape

  • branch


  • branchlets


  • branchlets, needles

    branchlets, needles

  • needles and fruit

    needles and fruit

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark

  • older trunk, bark

    older trunk, bark