Taxus baccata
Common yew

Common yew (Taxus baccata) is a poisonous conifer native to most of Europe, from southern Scandinavia to northern Africa. It is easily distinguished from other conifers by having red berries instead of cones. The tree is slow-growing but extremely long-living, with some individuals living up to 5000 years.

Historically, the Common yew’s wood has been used for various artefacts, such as instruments and longbows, but due to the tree’s slow growth, it is no longer of any commercial interest. The tree is tolerant to repeated pruning and therefore highly valued for hedging and topiary purposes in parks and historical gardens. Lately, substances from the species have been tested in the development of cancer treatments.

Common yew is tolerant to shade and is often found in the understorey of forest stands. It is able to live on compressed soils and rocky terrain. The tree grows on most soil types, as long as they are well-drained, but is sensitive to long-lasting periods of poor drainage and frost.

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Acknowledgements

The following experts have contributed to the development of the EUFORGEN distribution maps:

Fazia Krouchi (Algeria), Hasmik Ghalachyan (Armenia), Thomas Geburek (Austria), Berthold Heinze (Austria), Rudi Litschauer (Austria), Rudolf Litschauer (Austria), Michael Mengl (Austria), Ferdinand Müller (Austria), Franz Starlinger (Austria), Valida Ali-zade (Azerbaijan), Vahid Djalal Hajiyev (Azerbaijan), Karen Cox (Belgium), Bart De Cuyper (Belgium), Olivier Desteucq (Belgium), Patrick Mertens (Belgium), Jos Van Slycken (Belgium), An Vanden Broeck (Belgium), Kristine Vander Mijnsbrugge (Belgium), Dalibor Ballian (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Alexander H. Alexandrov (Bulgaria), Alexander Delkov (Bulgaria), Ivanova Denitsa Pandeva (Bulgaria), Peter Zhelev Stoyanov (Bulgaria), Joso Gracan (Croatia), Marilena Idzojtic (Croatia), Mladen Ivankovic (Croatia), Željka Ivanović (Croatia), Davorin Kajba (Croatia), Hrvoje Marjanovic (Croatia), Sanja Peric (Croatia), Andreas Christou (Cyprus), Xenophon Hadjikyriacou (Cyprus), Václav Buriánek (Czech Republic), Jan Chládek (Czech Republic), Josef Frýdl (Czech Republic), Petr Novotný (Czech Republic), Martin Slovacek (Czech Republic), Zdenek Špišek (Czech Republic), Karel Vancura (Czech Republic), Ulrik Bräuner (Denmark), Bjerne Ditlevsen (Denmark), Jon Kehlet Hansen (Denmark), Jan Svejgaard Jensen (Denmark), Kalev Jðgiste (Estonia), Tiit Maaten (Estonia), Raul Pihu (Estonia), Ülo Tamm (Estonia), Arvo Tullus (Estonia), Aivo Vares (Estonia), Teijo Nikkanen (Finland), Sanna Paanukoski (Finland), Mari Rusanen (Finland), Pekka Vakkari (Finland), Leena Yrjänä (Finland), Daniel Cambon (France), Eric Collin (France), Alexis Ducousso (France), Bruno Fady (France), François Lefèvre (France), Brigitte Musch (France), Sylvie Oddou-Muratorio (France), Luc E. 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