Taxus baccata 'Watnong Gold'
Common Name: English yew 
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Taxaceae
Zone: 6 to 7
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Best grown in evenly moist, fertile, sandy loams with excellent drainage in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of full shade, a wide variety of soils (except poorly-drained ones) and considerable pruning. Plants are easy to prune and respond well to pruning. Intolerant of temperature extremes (e.g., prolonged hot summer temperatures or cold winter winds). Not reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area where plants should be located in sheltered locations with protection from winter winds.

Best yellow foliage color usually occurs in full sun. Tolerant of full shade, but foliage tends to be greenish-yellow.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Taxus baccata, commonly called English yew or common yew, is a long-lived, evergreen, conical tree that is native to Europe, southwestern Asia and northern Africa. It typically grows to 30-60' tall. Old trees usually develop thick trunks with scaly reddish-brown bark. Lustrous, flat-needled, two-ranked, dark green foliage (needles to 1 1/2" long) is attractive year round. Young shoots emerge light green. Plants are dioecious (separate male and female plants). Female plants produce berry-like cones made up of a single seed surrounded by a red, fleshy structure called an aril. The aril is formed by two fused, modified scale leaves.

Genus name is an old Latin name for yews.

Specific epithet means fruit-bearing in reference to the showy red arils.

'Watnong Gold' is a broad-spreading, low-growing, yellow-needled form that typically grows to 3' tall and to 4' wide over the first 10 years. A selection from the Watnong Arboretum in New Jersey.


Susceptible to winter burn from exposure to extreme cold and/or dry winter winds, particularly in exposed sites. Twig blights and needle blights are occasional problems. Root rot may occur in poorly-drained soils. Insect pests include mealybugs, scale and vine weevils.


Excellent spreading yellow-needled cultivar for small gardens. Specimen/accent. Foundation. Rock garden.