Taxus baccata var. pyramidalis

French yew

The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
April 2003; additional images provided September 2006, edited Dec. 2006, reformatted June 2010

16i. Taxus baccata var. pyramidalis [Ravenscroft] Lawson (Figs. 129–131), Abietineae—List Pl. Fir Tribe No. 10, 83. 1851. Taxus baccata [f.] pyramidalis Beissner, Handb. Nadelholzk. 175. 1891.. Taxus communis pyramidalis Nelson, Pinaceae 172. 1866. Taxus pyramidalis Severin in Möller's Deutsch. Gärt.-Zeit. 41: 227, fig. 1926. Origin of material in horticulture unknown; original herbarium material unknown.  Neotype (designated, Spjut 2007)—France. Lananau Mutohir (Girandi), along marsh—1 Sep 1930, Tidestrom 12814, with seed at US! (US: 1528427); isoneotype (US: 1528652).

French yew. Distribution: Euro-Mediterranean.

Shrubs or trees; branchlets weeping or horizontal, spreading, short and much divided, ± fastigiate, isodichotomous, yellowish orange or yellowish green, usually lacking leaves by the 3rd yr; bud-scales persistent, obtuse, with a thickened or keeled midnerve, yellowish to reddish brown; leaves radial, or closely overlapping and wide spreading in two ranks, yellowish green on adaxial (dorsal) surface, developing an orange tint near apex in the herbarium, or dark metallic green in one specimen from Norway, yellowish green to greenish orange below, linear, 1.8-2.2 cm long, ca. 2 mm wide, or oblong, ca. 1.5 cm long. Male cones not seen at maturity, buds appearing solitarily near apex of branchlets; seed in one specimen near apex of branchlet, globose, reddish brown. Distribution. Algeria, France, Spain, Portugal, and Norway.

     Taxus baccata var. pyramidalis is recognized by the flexuous (or pendulous) branchlets of equal length, usually with a yellowish orange color and loss of leaves towards the base (3rd yr), and by the leaves spreading widely from branchlets.  Some branchlets and leaves tend to spread nearly at right angles, especially in the type, in contrast to a much narrow spread of branchlets and leaves in var. baccata.  It is also similar to varieties elegantissima and jacksonii by the paucity of cones, and to var. ericoides by the radial orientation of leaves (except the type).  The specimen from Norway (Gamble) has darker green metallic leaves instead of the typical yellowish green color.  It is considered var. pyramidalis by the wide spreading branchlets, which also appear recurved, and by the overlapping leaves in which the leaf arrangement is most similar to the other specimens of this variety than to other varieties.

Representative SpecimensAlgeria: Atlas, Blida, Olaptin (S: C- 2070). Portugal: Ser. Estrela, Cyrén (S: C-2058). Spain: Huesca: Ser. Guara, Sandwith 4452 (BM). France: Jura Mts, Fosberg 41055 (US); Lananau Mutohir (Girandi), along marsh, 1 Sep 1930, Tidestrom 12814 (US: 1528652). Norway: Woods, West Delen, Gamble 28933 (K).

France: Lananau Mutohir (Girandi), along marsh—1 Sep 1930, Tidestrom 12814, with seed (US: 1528427), neotype.

Portugal: Ser. Estrela, Cyrén (S: C-2058).

Norway: Woods, West Delen, Gamble 28933 (K).

France: Tidestrom 12814, with seed (US: 1528652),  isoneotype.