© RHS/Tim Sandall



Botanical name: Taxus

Yew (Taxus baccata) is a versatile, long-lived native evergreen tree or shrub that fits well into any style of garden. It is popular as hedging and topiary, and can also be grown as a free-standing specimen, adding year-round structure. It also grows well in containers. 


Yew has distinctive needle-like evergreen foliage and red berry-like fruits in autumn and winter. It can be a tree or shrub, or can be clipped into topiary shapes, or grown as hedging.


This versatile native plant is happy in most soil types and situations, from shade to full sun. It can be planted closely to form a hedge, or individually as a standalone specimen, in the ground or in a container.


Avoid planting in waterlogged soil, as the roots are susceptible to rotting. Make sure new plants and those in containers don't dry out.

Did you know?

All parts of yew are toxic, except the berry-like fruits (although the seeds inside them are highly poisonous). So to be on the safe side, wear gloves when handling hedge clippings, taking cuttings or sowing seeds.

Growing guide

Yew we recommend

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Useful advice

Hedges: nuisance and overgrown

Hedges: nuisance and overgrown

Hedges: planting

Hedges: planting

Hedges: selection

Hedges: selection

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