Herb: Japanese Plum Yew


Latin name: Cephalotaxus harringtonia


Synonyms: Taxus harringtonia


Family: Cephalotaxaceae (Plum Yew Family)



Edible parts of Japanese Plum Yew:

Fruit. - raw or cooked. About 2 - 3cm long. The fruit of this plant is said to be astringent and inedible even when fully ripe. However, several of its sub-species produce a very nice sweet fruit - see cultivation details for more information. Seed - raw or cooked. Oily with a slightly resinous flavour. The seed is up to 15mm long.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
5 m
(16 feet)

Flovering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

An understorey shrub in woodlands. In temperate deciduous forests at elevations of 600 - 1000 metres.

Other uses of Japanese Plum Yew:

An oil obtained from the seed is used as an illuminant. Very tolerant of pruning, this plant makes a very good hedge in shady positions.

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.

Cultivation of Japanese Plum Yew:

An understorey shrub in woodlands. In temperate deciduous forests at elevations of 600 - 1000 metres.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Cephalotaxus harringtonia:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.