Taxus cuspidata 'Bright Gold'
Common Name: Japanese yew
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Taxaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 7.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Species plants are considered to be one of the best of the needled evergreens for shady conditions. However 'Bright Gold' should not be grown in full shade because the golden foliage will turn yellow green. This cultivar is best grown in part shade, with full sun in the morning and some part shade in the heat of the afternoon. Prefers moist, sandy loams, but plants have no tolerance for wet conditions which must be avoided. Good soil drainage is essential. Tolerates urban conditions. Best sited in locations protected from cold winter winds. Tolerates pruning well. Pruning is best done in early spring, but may be done at any time.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Taxus cuspidata, commonly known as Japanese yew, is a broad-columnar needled evergreen tree or multi-stemmed shrub that is native to Korea, China, Russia and Japan. In its native habitat, it will grow to as much as 30-50’ tall. Cultivated plants will grow much smaller, particularly if regularly pruned. It features linear, spiny-tipped, dark green needles (to 1” long). Leaves are often tinged yellow beneath. Foliage may turn reddish-brown or yellow in winter. Scaly, reddish brown bark. Although classified as a conifer, female yews (plants are dioecious) do not produce cones, but instead produce red, ornamentally-attractive, berry-like fruits, each having a single seed almost completely surrounded by a fleshy red aril.

Specific epithet is in reference to the cuspidate (having a sharp pointed tip) foliage.

‘Bright Gold’ is a shrubby, upright-spreading, dwarf form that grows in a mound to 3' tall and as wide over the first 10 years, eventually maturing over time to 4-6' tall and to 5-7' wide. Each needle is golden yellow in spring with a green striation. Needles generally show good yellow color when grown in full sun, but are yellow-green when grown in shade. Even in full sun locations, the needles tend to turn green as the summer progresses. Red drupes on female plants ripen in fall.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to winter burn, particularly in exposed sites. Twig blight and needle blight are occasional problems. Root rot may occur in poorly-drained soils. Weevils, mealy bugs and scale are problems in some areas.

Garden Uses

Golden evergreen foliage provides excellent accent to the landscape. Rock gardens. Specimen. Foundations. Containers.