2015

 
 

Anglojap yew, or Taxus x media, is a medium-sized, evergreen conifer that offers a wide range of choices in size and characteristics. Anglojap yew, as the name implies, is a cross between English yew (Taxus baccata) and Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata). This hybrid offers some of the handsome form of its English parentage with some of the toughness and cold hardiness of the Japanese line. They make small to medium sized shrubs or trees, growing anywhere from 2 to 30 feet depending on the variety. Like most Yews they have a fine texture and dark green foliage on top and lighter beneath and usually a slow growth rate. They have the typically attractive red fruit on the female plants that is so characteristic of yews and so striking against the somber dark green needles.
Taxus media is fairly common in New England, Canada and the American mid-west where harsh winters prove fatal to English yews. Owing to their success in the cold winter areas, Anglojap yews have become a nursery staple, especially the cultivar "Densiformis", which is  popular for foundation plantings.  That's not surprising since "Densiformis" only grows 4 feet tall and 8 feet wide with handsome, dark green foliage that takes shearing well and requires very little maintenance. There are, however, other cultivars which are quite impressive, though, not surprisingly, not found in the big discount nurseries. One of these has even achieved a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit and this is Taxus media Hicksii / Brownii (Hicksii - female, Brownii - male). Brown and Hicks yews have splendidly dense foliage with a columnar habit and they make a superb hedge. They grow faster than English yew and are more suitable for lower hedges. Planted together Hicksii/Brownii produces large crops of bright red fruits at a young age. Not only are they handsome but they can tolerate wet shade, cold and exposed sites and even some slightly alkaline soil. It is ornamental as well as utilitarian.
Another exceptional Anglojap yew is Taxus x media 'Viridis'. This is a slow growing, narrow column. The soft needles are slightly twisted giving it the finest texture. The new needles are bright yellow fading to a light green, making "Viridis' more eye-catching than most yews and a bright note for a dreary winter landscape. It is also well adapted to harsh winters and tolerant of shade and drought. 
All of these Anglojap yews are successful in much of Canada and most of the United States. They also thrive throughout the UK and New Zealand and cool-temperate Australia, but, as always, the select varieties are usually found in specialty nurseries.

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Taxus media/Anglojap yew

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