Amazing Yew

About our name “Yew Tree Apps”

We once had an English Yew Tree (Taxus baccata) as a very prominent feature in our little back garden. We decided that its memorable and short name was suitable for our small friendly company. We did some light digging and found some intriguing information about the amazing Yew. Knowledge, as a wonderful thing, is always best shared so here are some of our findings for your perusal.

The Yew tree is prized for its durability and usability

Used since the stone age its wood is hard, flexible, and tight-grained; making it highly durable and perfect for a variety of applications, including; spears, the longbow, furniture, and musical instruments. The oldest wooden artifacts ever found were made of yew and dated back 150,000 years, and the Yew family is thought to have been around for at least 15 million years.

The Yew has mythical status in many cultures around the world

It is known as the ‘Tree of Life’, the ‘World Tree’, the ‘Tree of Death’, the ‘Tree of Resurrection’, and the ‘Tree of Eternity’. A symbol of transformation, or of ‘in between worlds’, and of perseverance and wisdom.

The Yew has a large genetic variation and is highly adaptable to change

A slow growing organism with good polymorphic attributes. Its thick spread of roots provide a strong support, and it easily roots and sprout from any part of its bark. But its most remarkable rooting trick takes place at a very old age when the centre hollows and allows newly sprouted roots at the top of the tree to descend through the hollow core; upon reaching the ground they begin to replace the old trunk and the ancient Yew tree is resurrected, allowing it to grow into the next millennia. It is thought that the oldest Yew is about 2000 years of age; although its remarkable rejuvenating mechanisms make it very difficult to tell.

The only parts of the tree that are not highly poisonous are the sweet red fleshy coverings of the seeds, these nutritious coats ensure the seeds are spread along with a natural fertilizer courtesy of the birds.

The Yew tree in our back garden has only been there for a few human generations, we think, but it could remain solidly rooted and in good health for hundreds of generations to come.