Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Taxus brevifolia
Pacific yew, western yew

Distribution: Occurring in forested areas throughout Washington; Alaska to California, east to southeastern Alberta, Idaho, western Montana, and northeastern Oregon

Habitat: Open to deep, usually moist forests, sea level to middle elevations in the mountains

Cones: August-October

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Shrub-like, dioecious tree mostly 5-10 m. tall, the trunk often contorted, the branches spreading or drooping.


The bark very thin, consisting of purplish scales covering the reddish or reddish-purple inner bark.


Leaves 2-ranked, 14-18 mm. long and 1-2 mm. wide, yellow-green, paler on the lower surface, tipped with a sharp, slender point.


Staminate cones yellowish, globose, about 3 mm. long; stamens 6-14 in a tight cluster, surrounded by several small bracts, projecting above the branch; ovule solitary in the leaf axils, terminal and on the lower side of a short, scaly branch, subtended by 2 pairs of bracts, at maturity surrounded by a fleshy, reddish disc, appearing berry-like.

Accepted Name:
Taxus brevifolia Nutt.
Publication: N. Amer. Sylv. 3: 86, plate 108. 1849.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Taxus baccata L. ssp. brevifolia (Nutt.) Pilger
Taxus baccata L. var. brevifolia (Nutt.) Koehne
Taxus baccata L. var. canadensis Benth.
Taxus bourcieri Carrière
Taxus lindleyana A. Murray bis
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Taxus brevifolia in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Taxus brevifolia checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Taxus brevifolia information.

E-Flora BC: Taxus brevifolia atlas page.

CalPhotos: Taxus brevifolia photos.

USDA Plants: Taxus brevifolia information.

43 photographs:
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