yew

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yew,

name for evergreen trees or shrubs of the genus Taxus, somewhat similar to hemlock but bearing red berrylike fruits instead of true cones. Of somber appearance, with dark green leaves, the yew since antiquity has been associated with death and funeral rites. The English yew (T. baccata) was used for the longbows of English archers. The wood of several yews is still employed in making bows and for cabinetwork. In North America the most common species is a low, spreading shrub (T. canadensis), called also ground hemlock, which is native to Canada and to the NW United States. The most commonly cultivated yews in the E United States are varieties of the Japanese yew, T. cuspidata. Yews are often trimmed into hedges. Several related evergreen species are also cultivated for ornament, e.g., the plum-yews, of the Asian genus Cephalotaxus. Most parts of the yew plant are poisonous. There is little or no record of medicinal use by Native Americans. However, an important anticancer drug, taxol (effective against ovarian and possibly other cancers), occurs in the Pacific yew (T. brevifolia), the English yew, and others. Taxol prevents breakdown of cell microtubules, consequently preventing cell division. Yew is classified in the division PinophytaPinophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called gymnosperms. The gymnosperms, a group that includes the pine, have stems, roots and leaves, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Pinopsida, order Coniferales, family Taxaceae.

yew

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(botany)
A genus of evergreen trees and shrubs, Taxus, with the fruit, an aril, containing a single seed surrounded by a scarlet, fleshy, cuplike envelope; the leaves are flat and acicular.

yew

traditionally planted in churchyards; symbol of deathlessness. [Br. Legend: Brewer Dictionary, 1171]

yew

tree symbolizes grief. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 178]

yew

symbol of immortality; hence, planted in churchyards and near Druid temples. [Br. Legend: Brewer Dictionary, 967]
See: Trees

yew

1. any coniferous tree of the genus Taxus, of the Old World and North America, esp T. baccata, having flattened needle-like leaves, fine-grained elastic wood, and solitary seeds with a red waxy aril resembling berries: family Taxaceae
2. the wood of any of these trees, used to make bows for archery
3. Archery a bow made of yew
References in periodicals archive ?
The Company uses a patented, accelerated growth technology to speed the growth and maturity and commercialization of yew trees and believes that it is one of the few companies possessing a permit to sell them.
A report by planning o'cers at Liverpool council said: "Two enquiries were made to the council's call centre (LDL) over the status of protection of these two yew trees.
A yew tree at St Cynog's churchyard at Defynnog near Sennybridge, Powys, is believed to be 5,000 years old
Bansal, of Newbridge Crescent, Newbridge, Wolverhampton, was fined a total of pounds 1,000 with pounds 488 costs after admitting cutting down a yew tree and wilfully damaging a yew tree when she faced city magistrates.
When Erddig was given to the National Trust by Philip Yorke, the avenue of Irish, upright growing, yew trees in the garden here had become so overgrown it was impossible to walk down the path in between them.
And, in another fortunate turn of events, scientists discovered ways to commercially produce paclitaxel--preserving Pacific yew trees (one of the world's slowest growing trees) as well as our Fitness Farm shrubs pictured below.
During the work, Castle Morpeth Borough Council staff found that yew trees contained taxine, which is used to make the anti-cancer drug Taxol.
The bows are often called English longbows, but historians say wood from Spanish yew trees was better suited to making the bows than English yew.
But an American relative of the infamously poisonous yew tree has become the tree of life.
If the company pays a trivial sum for the Pacific yew trees harvested on public lands and doesn't pay the Government anything for its exclusive rights to Federally funded research information, what do the taxpayers get in return?
So far, the agency has forestalled serious criticism by restricting collection to areas that are already clearcut or scheduled for timber sales--areas where the yew trees would have been cut and burned anyway.
A provisional patent application has been filed to protect the unique extraction process, which Naturol intends to use to produce and further purify Paclitaxel and other Taxane extracts recovered from Yew trees in Eastern Canada.