Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Taxus canadensis

Yew (Taxus canadensis) Other common names: American Yew, Ground Hemlock

French names: If du Canada

Family: Yew Family (Taxaceae)

Distinctive features: Shrub

Similar species:
  •   Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) - needles are white underneath.

  •   Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) - needles are white underneath.

  •   Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo) - needles are very different.

Flowers: Spring

Leaves: Flat needles.

Height: 1-2 m (2-5 ft);  A low evergreen shrub.

Habitat: Forests;  Forests.

Books: Trees in Canada: 125    Shrubs of Ontario: 3   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: canadensis: of Canada

Photographs: 76 photographs available, of which 7 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Yew (Taxus canadensis)

Yews are low-growing shrubs. Yew never grows into a tree form in the wild. However, there are ornamental types which do grow more upright, but these are unlikely to be found growing wild. This picture shows the typical overall form of a Yew. They have a sprawling, spreading form.

Yew (Taxus canadensis)

A picture of a Yew branch. Note the resemblance to Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) in particular.

Yew (Taxus canadensis)

Yew (Taxus canadensis)

Yew (Taxus canadensis)

Freshj needles are a lighter green.

Yew (Taxus canadensis)

A closer view of Yew needles. Yew needles differ from Balsam Fir and Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) in that Yew needles are green underneath (not shown here).

Please note that although a delicious tea can be made from both Balsam Fir and Eastern Hemlock needles, this is not the case with Yew needles. Since there is conflicting literature on whether or not one can make tea from Yew, it is probably best to not do so.

Yew (Taxus canadensis)

Note the flower buds on the underside of the twigs.

Range map for Yew (Taxus canadensis)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)