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Any of several spreading evergreen trees of the Taxus family, such as Taxus baccata, that are found throughout Europe and Asia. The dense, strong wood from the common yew tree is reddish with a close grain. It was used in ancient Egypt for utensils, bowls, tools, weapons, boats, coffins, statues, and nails (Gale et al 2000).

Synonyms and Related Terms

common yew (Taxus baccata); English yew; European yew; Taiwan yew (Taxus marei); Japanese yew (ichii); if (Fr.); Eibe (Deut.); tasso (It.); tejo (Esp.); teixo (Port.)

Yew (Taxus baccata)

Hazards and Safety

Toxic by ingestion and inhalation. Skin contact may cause irritation

Additional Information

R.Gale, P.Gasson, N.Hepper, G.Killen, "Wood" in Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, P.Nicholson, I.Shaw (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 334-371.Schoch, W., Heller, I., Schweingruber, F.H., Kienast, F., 2004:Wood anatomy of central European Species: Yew, Taxus baccata L.

Additional Images


  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Comment: "Yew." Encyclopdia Britannica. 2004. Encyclopdia Britannica Premium Service. 25 Apr. 2004 .
  • Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technologies, Paul Nicholson, Ian Shaw (eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000 Comment: R.Gale, P.Gasson, N.Hepper, G.Killen, "Wood"
  • Michael McCann, Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Random House, Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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