Herb: Chinese Plum Yew


Latin name: Cephalotaxus fortunei


Synonyms: Cephalotaxus filiformis, Cephalotaxus mascula, Cephalotaxus pendula


Family: Cephalotaxaceae (Plum Yew Family)



Medicinal use of Chinese Plum Yew:

Substances from the plant have shown anticancer activity.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
6 m
(20 feet)

Flovering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

Woodlands, especially in limestone regions. Mixed, coniferous, and broad-leaved forests, thickets and roadsides at elevations of 200 - 3700 metres.

Edible parts of Chinese Plum Yew:

Fruit. Fairly large, it is about 30mm x 15mm. We have no further details, though it is closely related to C. harringtonia, the fruit of which is edible raw if fully ripe. The fruit does not always ripen in Britain, before full ripeness it has a disgusting resinous flavour that coats the mouth and refuses to go away for hours. It is quite possible that the seed of this species is also edible.

Other uses of the herb:

Some forms of this species are procumbent in habit and can be used as ground cover in shady places. Very tolerant of pruning, this plant makes a very good hedge in shady positions.

Propagation of Chinese Plum Yew:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it should then germinate in the following spring. A hard seedcoat can delay germination, especially in if the seed is not sown as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be cold-stratified and sown in a cold frame in the spring. Germination can take 18 months or more. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter under cover. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Greenwood cuttings of terminal shoots, August/September in a humid cold frame. Difficult.

Cultivation of the herb:

Woodlands, especially in limestone regions. Mixed, coniferous, and broad-leaved forests, thickets and roadsides at elevations of 200 - 3700 metres.

Known hazards of Cephalotaxus fortunei:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.