The Littleleaf yew (Taxus baccata adpressa) is a shrub with short needles, pale yellow when young, later dark green with yellow margins. The female plants have conspicuous fleshy red arils surrounding the solitary seeds. When it was first cultivated in 1828 in Chester this tree was referred to as ‘Brevifolia’; it was renamed ‘Adpressa’ in 1850 to avoid confusion with the American species Taxus brevifolia. ‘Adressa’ variants include ‘Aurea’, ‘Erecta’, ‘Pyramidalis’, and ‘Variegata’
Common name: English Yew
Scientific Name (family and order): Taxus baccata ‘Adpressa’ (Taxaceae, Cupressales)
Species Origin: Africa, Asia, Europe.
New Jersey Status: USDA not listed
Habit: Up to 10m tall. Wide spreading, dense growth.
Habitat: Zones 5 -7; tolerates lime-rich soil in dry climes.
Leaves: Evergreen, Simple, Two Ranks (two rows along shoot) This form of yew has unmistakably short-needled leaves which resemble Tsuga (hemlock) leaves abruptly pointed at apex, deep green needles between 5 and 10 mm long. The needles grow as two ranks along the shoot facing upward toward the light.
Flowers: Dioecious. ‘Adpressa’ is a female tree
Fruits and seeds: A single seed enclosed in a fleshy, usually red aril (referred to as “a fleshy fruit-like cone”, 1/8” long, open at the top exposing the olive-green seed. The aril is green before expanding and maturing.