Thursday, December 24, 2009


(Taxus Baccata) The Yew Tree is highly poisonous except for the red berries. It only takes 30 seeds though to kill an adult in a matter of hours. Chemotherapy drugs are derived from the Pacific yew tree. The wood has been prized throughout medieval history for use in longbows. In England it was so prized that before long there was a shortage of mature yew trees and a law was passed that every ship that came to port had to bring with it four staves for a port charge. Eventually this was increased to 10, and the law stood until guns started replacing bows for use in warfare. The wood is bright orange in the sapwood, and a deeper russet in the heartwood. Its hardness and swirling grain make it prized for woodturning, furniture, and other decorative uses.