Taxus × media 'Wellesleyana'

Common Name: yew 
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Taxaceae
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 6.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought, Heavy Shade


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates shade and is considered to be an excellent evergreen 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. Accepts pruning and shearing well. Pruning is best done in early spring before new growth appears.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Taxus × media is a hybrid designation for a large number of shrubby, often wide-spreading crosses of English yew (Taxus baccata) and Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata). These hybrids are noted for combining the ornamental excellence of English yew with the winter hardiness of Japanese yew. Although primarily resembling T. cuspitata in appearance, the various hybrid cultivars can vary considerably in size and character. Height ranges from 2-20' tall depending on the cultivar. Two ranked, pointed, oblong to needle-like, olive to dark green leaves are attractive year round. Bark is scaly brown. Plants are dioecious (separate male and female plants). Female plants produce red, berry-like fruits instead of cones. Each fruit has a single seed almost completely surrounded by a fleshy red aril. All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.

Genus name is an old Latin name for yews.

Specific epithet means intermediate.

'Wellesleyana' is a hybrid of Taxus baccata as the female parent and Taxus cuspidata as the male parent. Grown at the Hunnewell Estate in Wellesley, Massachusetts in the early 1900's, the seeds from this cross resulted in at least 11 yew cultivars. It has a broad, upright, spreading habit with dark green needles that are lighter below and have a short pointed tip. The fruit is a berry-like cone with a fleshy red aril that almost completely covers the seed. Like other yews, this shrub is poisonous, although birds will consume the fruit without ill effect as the poisonous seed passes through their system undigested. It grows 6 to 15 ft. tall and 5 to 10 ft. wide.


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.


Uses include foundations, screen or hedge. Effective when massed or grouped.