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a family of gymnospermous plants. Representatives of Taxaceae are evergreen trees and shrubs, usually heavily branched. The leaves, for the most part, are needle-like, linear, or linear-lanceolate and often asymmetrical. The plants are most often dioecious. The male spikelets, which are found in the axils of the leaves, may be solitary or gathered into catkins. The fruits are greatly reduced and are not shaped like cones; at the base they are surrounded by several pairs of scalelike leaves and bear one ovule. Mature seeds are surrounded by a fleshy aril. The family consists of approximately 20 species, which grow mainly in the northern hemisphere. There are five genera: Taxus, Torreya, Pseudotaxus (one species, in China), Austrotaxus (one species, in New Caledonia), and Amentotaxus (several species, in China and Vietnam).