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Uses

Toxic parts

All parts of the plant, except the flesh of the fruit, are highly poisonous[1][2][3][4][5][6].

Edible uses

Notes

Fruit - raw[7][8][9]. Very sweet and gelatinous, most people find it delicious though some find it sickly[K]. The fruit is a fleshy berry about 8mm in diameter and containing a single seed[10]. Trees usually produce good crops every year[11]. All other parts of this plant, including the seed, are highly poisonous. When eating the fruit you should spit out the large seed found in the fruit's centre. Should you swallow the whole seed it will just pass straight through you without harm, if the seed has been bitten into, however, it could cause some problems.

Fruit

Material uses

A red paint was made by mixing the woodchips with oil[12].

The roots have been used as the weft in twined basketry[9]. The root is very strong and is particularly good for hopper mortar baskets[9].

Wood - fine-grained, strong, hard, heavy, durable and resilient, taking a very fine polish. Though hard, the wood is easy to carve[12]. It is also used for making paddles, fence posts and various other small articles[13][14][15][12][11][9].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The Pacific yew is a highly toxic plant but it was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints[9]. Modern research has shown that it contains the substance 'taxol' in its shoots and bark. Taxol has shown exciting potential as an anti-cancer drug, particularly in the treatment of ovarian cancers[16]. Unfortunately, the concentrations of taxol are rather low and the bark of 6 trees is required to provide enough taxol to treat one patient[16]. This remedy is very toxic and, even when used externally, should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[16]. See also the notes above on toxicity.

All parts of the plant, except the fleshy fruit, are diaphoretic and pectoral[9]. A decoction of the branches and leaves has been used in the treatment of lung problems[9]. An infusion of the crushed leaves has been used externally as a wash to cause perspiration and effect a general improvement in the health[9]. A poultice of the crushed leaves has been applied to wounds[9]. A decoction of small woody pieces has been used in the treatment of internal complaints including stomach pains and blood in the urine[9].

The leaves are harvested in early autumn or spring, the bark from autumn to spring, for commercial extraction of taxol[16].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Secondary canopy

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - can be very slow to germinate, often taking 2 or more years[17][18]. It is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn when it should germinate 18 months later. Stored seed may take 2 years or more to germinate. 4 months warm followed by 4 months cold stratification may help reduce the germination time[19]. Harvesting the seed 'green' (when fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and then sowing it immediately has not been found to reduce the germination time because the inhibiting factors develop too early[18]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in pots in a cold frame. The seedlings are very slow-growing and will probably require at least 2 years of pot cultivation before being large enough to plant out. Any planting out is best done in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts[K].

Cuttings of half-ripe terminal shoots, 5 - 8cm long, July/August in a shaded frame. Should root by late September but leave them in the frame over winter and plant out in late spring[17]. High percentage[20].

Cuttings of ripe terminal shoots, taken in winter after a hard frost, in a shaded frame[19].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Taxus brevifolia. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Thrives in almost any soil, acid or alkaline, as long as it is well-drained[1][10]. Succeeds in dry soils. Plants are very shade tolerant[21].

Dormant plants are very cold-hardy, though the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A slow-growing but apparently long-lived tree[11]. Plants produce very little fibrous root and should be planted in their final positions when still small[10]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[10].

Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Taxus brevifolia. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Taxus brevifolia.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Taxus brevifolia
Genus
Taxus
Family
Taxaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
6
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
permanent shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Fertility
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type

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References

  1. ? 1.01.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  2. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  3. ? Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  4. ? Altmann. H. Poisonous Plants and Animals. Chatto and Windus ISBN 0-7011-2526-8 (1980-00-00)
  5. ? Stary. F. Poisonous Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-35666-3 (1983-00-00)
  6. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
  9. ? 9.009.019.029.039.049.059.069.079.089.099.109.119.12 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.410.5 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.4 Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.112.212.3 Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario. ISBN 0889025649 (1989-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.115.2 Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.116.216.316.4 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  17. ? 17.017.1 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  18. ? 18.018.1 McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed. Grower Books ISBN 0-901361-21-6 (1985-00-00)
  19. ? 19.019.1 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
  20. ? 20.020.1 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  21. ? Rushforth. K. Conifers. Christopher Helm ISBN 0-7470-2801-X (1987-00-00)

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