Taxus cuspidata var. nana

Common Name: Japanese yew 
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Taxaceae
Native Range: Japan, Russian Far East
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 35.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought, Heavy Shade


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, sandy loams. Good soil drainage is essential. Tolerates urban conditions. Accepts pruning and shearing well. Best sited in locations protected from cold winter winds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Taxus cuspidata var. nana (nana meaning small) is a compact, wide-spreading Japanese yew which typically grows very slowly to 3-4' tall by 6' wide over the first 10 years. May eventually mature to 15-20' tall over 40 years, at which point it would have developed into a very un-nana-like shrub. Dark green needles. Although classified as a conifer, female yews (plants are dioecious) do not produce cones. They produce red, berry like fruits, each having a single seed surrounded by a fleshy red aril.

Genus name is an old Latin name for yews.

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


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.


Group or mass. Foundations, hedges.