Types of Yew Shrubs


Yew shrubs, with their flat dark green needles and red berries grace landscapes from Alaska to Virginia Their varying shapes make them useful landscape plants. Low-lying shrubs serve as ground covers while uprights provide shade and privacy screening. Globe shaped varieties serve ornamental and decorative purposes. Three yew species used primarily for landscapes are Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata), English yew (T. baccata) and hybrids between the two (T. --- media). Less cultivated yews, like the Canada yew (T. canadensis) and Pacific yew (T. brevifoliaare) are indigenous to North America.

English Yew

  • English yew are not as cold hardy as Japanese yew but Taxus baccata "Repandens" can withstand USDA hardiness zone 5. Repandens, an English yew cultivar, exhibits a spreading habit and reaches heights of 4 feet. Fastigiata is a narrow growing erect cultivar. Some low-lying English yews such as Watnong Gold differ not only in growing habit but foliage color as well. This ground-cover produces yellow foliage.

Japanese Yew

  • Japanese yew are capable of withstanding colder temperatures than English yew cultivars. The T. cuspidata "Emerald Spreader" cultivar is a thick, dark green ground cover capable of withstanding 40 degree below zero temperatures. Green Wave, another cultivar, is named for its dark green color and arching branches. With a mounding growth habit Green Wave reaches heights of 4 feet and widths of 8 feet. Tall, upright Japanese yew cultivars include the cone-shaped 50 foot tall Capitata.


  • Japanese and English yew hybrids exhibit the best traits of both species - hardiness combined with ornamental qualities. T. xmedia v. Tauntonii withstands zone 4 climates and provides landscape with wide, spreading dark green shrubbery. Brownii is a globe shaped cultivar and Hatfieldii is a dense, cone shaped bush suited for privacy screens.

Other Species

  • Pacific yew grow along the length of North America's west coast - from California's southernmost coastline to northern Alaska. Their evergreen habit and narrow leaves make them adapted to both cold and warm climates. They are a slow-growing upright tree not usually found in residential landscapes.

    Canadian yew is an eastern North American yew species found growing from northern Canada into Tennessee and Virginia and as far west as Illinois. Canadian yew is a multi-stemmed slow growing shrub suited for residential landscapes.


  • Yew shrubs are sited in areas noted for their shade. Avoid planting yews in full sun.

    Yews require partial shade and well draining soils. Avoid planting yews in heavy, clay-based soils.

    Yew bark is sensitive. Small nicks and girdling damage effect the entire shrub. Avoid dead and damaged branches by removing wire tags immediately after purchase.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • Types of Pine Shrubs

    Versatile pines (Pinus spp.) have evergreen, aromatic foliage, tolerate sun and drought, and take a minimum of maintenance. Most pines grow to...

  • How to Identify Yew

    The yew is a plant of legend. Besides figuring prominently in myth as a magical wood and source of fine bows, it...

  • How to Care for a Yew Shrub

    Wild yews (Taxus spp.) sail through tough conditions, such as the scorching heat of northwestern Florida summers or the numbing cold of...

  • Yew Varieties

    Yew plants are a family of popular evergreen landscaping plants with varying growth habits that range from low-lying shrubs to soaring trees....

  • Types of Bushes & Shrubs

    Shrubs have numerous uses in the landscape, making the type of shrub you select a very important part of the decision if...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Make a Vertical Clay Pot Garden

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!