Herb: Japanese Plum Yew


Latin name: Cephalotaxus harringtonia nana


Synonyms: Cephalotaxus nana


Family: Cephalotaxaceae (Plum Yew Family)



Edible parts of Japanese Plum Yew:

Fruit. - raw or cooked. Plum-like and very sweet with a hint of pine in its flavour. The fruit is about 2cm long. This sub-species is said to produce the best fruit. 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. Seed - raw or cooked. Oily. The seed has a firm texture with a slightly resinous flavour.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

Flovering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

An understorey shrub in woodlands. In deciduous forests from near sea level to elevations of 600 metres.

Other uses of Japanese Plum Yew:

An oil obtained from the seed is used as an illuminant.

Propagation of the herb:

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. Division of self-layered stems and suckers in early autumn or mid-spring.

Cultivation of Japanese Plum Yew:

An understorey shrub in woodlands. In deciduous forests from near sea level to elevations of 600 metres.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Cephalotaxus harringtonia nana:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.