This name covers a number of very popular hybrids between English and Japanese yew species that have many purposes in the landscape. These shrubs often are used as specimens, foundation plants, in groups, or sheared as a hedge. Hardy and resilient, yews are very tolerant of urban conditions and are unusual among evergreens in that they can tolerate heavy shade. They also can stand severe pruning and shearing, which most evergreens cannot. Ango-Japanese yews tend to be fairly narrow when young, becoming wider with age. The needles are a lustrous dark green above and pale green beneath. The dark green of yews makes a fine background for other plants. Be aware that the leaves, seeds, and bark of all yews are poisonous.
- Evergreen (foliage year-round)
- Zone 3
- Zone 4
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
- Acid soil
- Dry soil
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Small tree (15-25 feet)
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Mixed border
- Early winter
- Mid winter
- Late winter
- Early spring
- Mid spring
- Late spring
- Early summer
- Mid summer
- Late summer
- Early fall
- Mid fall
- Late fall
There are many cultivars that vary considerably in size and habit and have different uses. If left unpruned, many yews can grow into substantial trees, up to 40 feet high. Some cultivars have been bred to stay compact.
Tree & Plant Care
Keep pruned to control size of plants near buildings
Will not tolerate wet conditions.
Can tolerate full shade but growth will be less dense.
Best in sheltered location; winter winds can dry plants, causing dieback.
Disease, pests, and problems
root rot, black vine weevil, scale
Native geographic location and habitat
Cross between species native to Europe and Eastern Asia.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Glossy needles arranged flat on either side of branch; dark green above, lime green below.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Red berries, actually modified cones, borne in fall on female plants. Most nurseries do not sell yews with the sex known. Fruit are poisonous.
Cultivars and their differences
Brownii (Taxus x media ‘Brownii’) grows to 6 to 8 feet high and 6 to 9 feet wide. Dark green, dense foliage. Male clone does not yield fruit.
Chadwickii (Taxus x media ‘Chadwickii’ ) grows to 2 to 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide, with a low, spreading habit.
Densiformis (Taxus x media ‘Densiformis’) grows to 3 to 4 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide. Dense, wide, spreading shrub. Female clone, so fruit will be produced.
Everlow (Taxus x media ‘Everlow’) grows 1 to 2 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide with a low, spreading habit.
Hicksii (Taxus x media 'Hicksii') grows to 6 to 8 feet high and 3 to 5 feet wide, a large shrub with a tall, narrow, columnar habit. May be male or female.
Tauntonii (Taxus x media ‘Tauntonii’) grows 3 to 4 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide, with a spreading habit. Especially resistant to desiccation and dieback from winter sun and winds. Relatively salt-tolerant. Glossy, flattened, slightly leathery, dark-green needles.
Viridis (Taxus x media ‘Viridis’) grows to 10 to 12 feet high and 1 to 2 feet wide. Verry narrow, columnar form. New needles are yellow-green and twisted, maturing to a medium green.
Wardii (Taxus x media ‘Wardii’) grows to 6 to 8 feet high and 15 to 20 feet wide, a very large shrub with a wide, spreading habit, becoming flat-topped with age.