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Taxus × media - hybrid yew, Wellesley yew


The Wellesley yew is a hybrid between the common or English yew (T. baccata) and the Japanese yew (T. cuspidata). The European yew is extremely popular in Europe but has shown itself less than completely hardy in North America. The hardier Japanese yew was discovered in the 1850s in the Far East and the hybrid was developed in the early 1900s by several nurseries in Massachusetts, USA.

The Wellesley or hybrid yew has a broad stiff habit, with deep dark-green needles, lighter below, which have a short pointed tip. Like its parents, the shrub is poisonous. It is dioecious, the berry-like cones comprising a fleshy aril, at the tip of which there is a square opening revealing the seed.

The hybrid yew is much used in gardens, with a wide range of sizes, shapes and shades available, all of them adapting well to trimming. Nowadays it is also much used in Finland.