Herb: Chinese Plum Yew


Latin name: Cephalotaxus sinensis


Synonyms: Cephalotaxus harringtonia sinensis


Family: Cephalotaxaceae (Plum Yew Family)



Medicinal use of Chinese Plum Yew:

Extracts from the plant have shown anticancer activity. The branches, roots, leaves, and seeds are a source of many alkaloids, which are used to treat leukaemia and lymphosarcoma.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
5 m
(16 feet)

Flovering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

Montane coniferous or mixed forests, thickets, stream valleys, valley bottoms, open situations, on granite, sandstone, and limestone substrates at elevations of 600 - 3200 metres.

Edible parts of Chinese Plum Yew:

Fruit. Fairly large, about 25mm x 17mm. No more 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 likely that the seed of this species is also edible. More research is required.

Other uses of the herb:

Very tolerant of pruning, this plant makes a very good hedge in shady positions. The wood is used to make furniture, farm implements, crafts, and utensils.

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:

Montane coniferous or mixed forests, thickets, stream valleys, valley bottoms, open situations, on granite, sandstone, and limestone substrates at elevations of 600 - 3200 metres.

Known hazards of Cephalotaxus sinensis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.