Taxus cuspidata
Common Name: Japanese yew
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Taxaceae
Native Range: Japan, Korea, Manchuria
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 30.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought, Heavy Shade

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates shade and is considered to be one of the best of the needled evergreens for shady conditions. 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 multistemmed shrub that is native to Korea, China, Russia and Japan. In its native habitat, it will grow to as much as 30-50’ tall. In cultivation it 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. Birds will feed on the berry-like fruits and help spread plants to other locations.

Genus name is an old Latin name for yews.

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

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, mealybugs and scale are problems in some areas.

Garden Uses

Species plants are infrequently grown in the U.S., but a number of compact shrubby cultivars are quite popular.