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.
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yew

[]
(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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
From what he saw, Lee Kuan Yew was not best impressed.
Yew wood is of very good quality because it is hard, compact, tough and elastic, easy to work, can be bent by vapour, turned and polished.
In total, Cllr Radford said, the West Derby centre could be run at 75% of the cost of the Yew Tree Surestart.
The yews have grown from saplings into mature trees creating solid walls twisting and turning into the centre along 1,200 metres of grass pathways.
During his trip, Yew Kiat said he met an old man who had been blind for 10 years due to a cataract infection and had never seen his grandchildren.
The MBRAM Foundation offers scholarships to postgraduate students in public administration (MPA) at the Dubai School of Government (DSG), which has a partnership agreement with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
The yew shapes are one of the most fascinating features of the five-and-half
But it is not clear if he met Singapore's elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew, who has close relations with leaders of both China and Taiwan, to discuss cross-straits ties.
Allan Thompson, of Yew Tree House, said: "Everyone here suspects that the duke wants to fell that tree and widen the bridleway so he can open up the field at the back for housing."
Another shrubby Pacific coast original first noted by Lewis and Clark is Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia).
Angela Hoffman, an associate professor of chemistry and physics at the University of Portland in Oregon--a state where hazelnut trees are grown in orchards--says certain varieties of the hazelnut tree produce as much as one-tenth of the paclitaxel found in the Pacific yew tree.
Pacific yew had been the only source of paclitaxel, a costly drug ingredient that's in high demand.