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Plant of the Week

Taxus

In honor of tax day, let’s talk about Taxus!  Taxus is the latin name for the much loved and much hated Yew plant. Yew’s are usually the most common plant seen in an outdated, overgrown landscape.  Although this plant was mostly seen as a foundation plant that was hedged to fit under windows, the Yew is actually a beautiful landscape plant when left to grow naturally.

There are hundreds of varieties of Yew’s, and they range from miniature types, to giants in the landscape.  Although they are relatively slow growing, they can be easily maintained by pruning, and are very popular as hedges.  The soft foliage is usually a deep green, and the new growth is usually a bright lime green, which makes for a beautiful contrast. There are also several yellow cultivars available now, and varieties that are short and wide, as well as tall and thin.

Another interesting fact in that Taxol, a cancer drug, is derived from the bark of the plant, which has cancer fighting properties, and is used to treat breast, lung and ovarian cancers.   All parts of the Taxus plant are considered poisionous!