Yew, an evergreen shrub or tree that is widely grown as an ornamental. Although its small, red fruits resemble berries, they are actually fleshy cones, each encasing a single seed. The fruits are poisonous. Yews bear stiff, needlelike leaves, 3/4 to 1 3/4 inches (2 to 4.5 cm) long, that grow from opposite sides of the twigs. They are dark, glossy green above, pale beneath.
There are 10 species of yews and a number of subspecies, as well as several cultivated varieties. The English yew sometimes attains a height of 100 feet (30 m) with a trunk diameter of more than 10 feet (3 m). Trees of this size are estimated to be more than 1,000 years old. The Japanese yew, which grows to 50 feet (15 m) in height, is widely cultivated. The Pacific, or western, yew grows to a height of 45 feet (14 m) and often has a twisted trunk. The wood is used to make archery bows and canoe paddles. The Canada yew, or ground hemlock, is a straggling shrub that seldom reaches 6 feet (1.8 m) in height. The Florida yew grows to a height of 25 feet (8 m).
The English yew is Taxus baccata; the Japanese, T. cuspidata; the Pacific, T. brevifolia; the Canada, T. canadensis; the Florida, T. floridana. The yew family is Taxaceae.Yews bear fleshy cones, resembling berries--much different from the prickly pine cone.