Factsheet F09: Plum yews – Cephalotaxus spp.


The plum yews (Cephalotaxus species) are a genus of evergreen trees and shrubs, originating in Eastern Asia from the Himalayas to China, Japan and Korea. All species appear rather like yews, but with larger (usually longer) needles. Like yews, the plum yews are shade-tolerant (being woodland understorey plants) and dioecious, with male and female flowers on different plants, and with fruit borne only on female plants. The hardier species perform very well in moist temperate areas and are valuable for hedging, ground cover, fruits (edible from some species) and the medicinal compounds in their leaves. This article deals with the species which are hardy in temperate climates – several species are tender or only hardy to zone 9 and these are not described.

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