Taxus baccata fastigiata: characteristics, care and more

taxus baccata fastigiata

The Taxus baccata fastigiata It is a slow-growing conifer known in Spain as yew, a tree that can be found isolated, forming hedges and as a horticultural specimen. Its wood was highly valued in antiquity for its exceptional qualities, and was used first for making bows and then for cabinetmaking and marquetry. It requires some care so that it can grow in good conditions.

For this reason, we are going to dedicate this article to tell you everything you need to know about the Taxus baccata fastigiata and their characteristics.


habitat of the Taxus baccata fastigiata

taxus baccata fastigiata leaves

In its habitat, it grows as a solitary tree and mixes with other species, sometimes forming thickets. In Spain they are more important as examples of the northern mountain systems. Some examples:

  • The yew forest of Sierra del Sueve, Asturias: Las Tejedas del Sueve is an ancient forest considered to be the largest concentration of yew (Taxus baccata) in Europe and one of the oldest forest complexes on the European continent. The forest is estimated to consist of more than 8,000 yew trees spread over an area of ​​approximately 80 hectares. Its location is in a limestone massif bordering the Bay of Biscay.
  • La Braña de los Ifs, Liébana, Cantabria: Located on a small high plateau, La Braña de los Tejos is like a perfect watchtower and, as its name suggests, it is full of yews. Its field of vision covers 360 degrees, and if you add the presence of these unique yew trees to its location, we have a place of particular beauty. To get to Braña de los Tejos we have several options. The easiest and fastest is from San Pedro de Bedoia, where the trail begins and is signposted as Sendero Corto PR-S4. All you have to do is follow it to the stop in this authentic “nature reserve”. Another option is to start from Santa María de Lebeña and continue straight on a well laid out path, but before Brañade los Tejos it will be steeper.
  • Tejedelo Forest between Zamora and Ourense: old yew in the municipality of Requejo de Sanabria, region of the same name in the northwest quadrant of the province of Zamora, Spain. El Tejedelo is located on a northern slope at 1,350 meters above sea level. Its space is managed by the Junta de Castilla y León and is part of the Natura 2000 network as a Site of Community Importance (SIC) .

main Features

yew in spain

The Taxus baccata fastigiata It is a tree or a bush that can reach a height of 20 meters in adulthood. As it grows, it forms a broad, conical crown across its horizontal or somewhat pendulous branches, especially at the tips. Its leaves measure between 10 and 30 x 1.5 and 3 mm. They are dark green above and greenish-yellow below, ending more or less in a horny tip.

Its flowering is concentrated between January and February, fruiting from October to December. Harvesting the arils is done manually at the end of autumn.

The fruits are technically 7-12mm doll-shaped (gymnosperm pseudofruits) and consist of a single seed partially surrounded by a fleshy red aril that matures within the calendar year. Seeds oval, 6-8 mm long, woody exophytes, with a small apex at the end, with a thin light brown smooth cap.

The whole yew plant is poisonous, except for the “meat” of its fruit, which is eaten by a large number of animals.

The Taxus baccata fastigiata lives in the shadow of the canyons, ravines and slopes of the Iberian Peninsula, mainly in limestones; almost always as an isolated specimen, often in rocky soils and even in rock crevices. In Andalusia it can reach up to 2,100 meters above sea level, but in the rest of the peninsula it is between 500 and 1,800 meters above sea level.

care of the Taxus baccata fastigiata

To plant the Taxus baccata fastigiatacare must be taken to carry out certain treatments before the seeds germinate, such as techniques such as layering, scraping, cold water soaking, pre-chilling and even freezing.

Traditionally, the cultivation of yew in nurseries was done by vegetative propagation (cuttings), although in recent years the use of seed has become widespread, despite its difficulties in germination. If we buy seeds, the acceptable values ​​are between 95-98% purity and 98% germination power. As a guide, there are approximately 17 seeds per gram.

Yew seeds are usually sown in the fall and germinate in the first or second spring. Sowing is done in trays or boxes on special substrates for nurseries. It can be used as a substrate for indoor plants, in both cases it must be kept moist until the seeds germinate.

These are spread over the substrate and immediately they are lightly covered with the same substrate or vermiculite to help the seeds have moisture over their entire surface. Germination is the epidermis, the seedling is 2-3 cm long, the original leaves are needle-shaped, eight whorls, greenish yellow. When the seedlings have true leaves, drill them into the alveolar discs. These can be filled with special growing media or outdoor plants. Cultivation can be done in 300-400 cc forest containers to achieve a final plant size of 15-40 cm in height for transplanting to the field, garden or container. Remember that yew grows slowly.

Gardening care

Like cypresses, which have a very long lifespan, yews have been used since ancient times to decorate cemeteries. But in gardening, especially in public, yew has found a leading role. It is used to form hedges and due to its ability to germinate it has the potential to form a very leafy barrier, plus its slow development prevents frequent pruning. Also as single trees that participate in the garden architecture with individuality. In many cases, pruning techniques are even applied.

Its location is sunny, very rustic and with fresh soil it will grow well. Regarding her fertilization, is sufficient fertilization for garden maintenanceIn case of chlorosis, iron chelate should be added from time to time to the irrigation water at the dose recommended by the manufacturer to correct the situation.

Note that there are several varieties of yew, including several varieties with yellow leaves. It is important to remember that all parts of the yew, except for the aril that covers the fruit, are poisonous. Roots, branches, trunks, leaves, seeds… all parts except the fleshy part are poisonous because its fruit is eaten by birds (the seeds are not digested by their digestive system) to facilitate the spread of the species.

Although the practice of suicide with yew poison was very common among the ancient inhabitants of northern Spain, it is now very rare, and almost always, and if it occurs it is due to the consumption of its berries by a child attracted by the poison. The color of the aril and the fairly sweet taste if its seeds are chewed. Remember, as a rule, that ingesting the fruit does not cause harm, since the outer skin of the seeds is not altered during passage through the digestive tract.

I hope with this information you can learn more about the Taxus baccata fastigiata and their characteristics.

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