Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 629 Cephalotaxus harringtonia

Common Names: Japanese plum yew, Harrington plum yew, cow-tail pine, plum yew Family: Cephalotaxaceae (plum yew Family)
Image Gallery

Japanese plum yew
A low-growing cultivar of Japanese plum yew nicely complements the armless semi-nude beauty of a concrete Greco-Roman goddess of love.

Description

There are at least three named varieties and several cultivars of Japanese plum yew. C. harringtonia var. drupacea is a shrub to 15 ft (4.6 m) high with a rounded crown, and shorter, blunt tipped needles to 1 in (2.5 cm) long. Cultivar 'Nana' is a low, spreading shrub that sends up suckers, forming a thicket. 'Prostrata' forms a low mound growing to about 2 ft (0.6 cm) tall with a spread of 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m). One of the strangest of the plume yews is 'Fastigiata', a columnar or vase-shaped shrub with long branches originating near the base and pointing straight up. The branches are held tightly together and the leaves are bent downward and arranged in spiral radiating whorls, like bottlebrushes. 'Fastigiata' gets about 8 ft (2.4 m) tall and 3-5 ft (0.9-1.5 m) wide.

'Fastigiata' foliage
The leaves of 'Fastigiata' are arranged in spiral whorls.

Location

Japanese plum yew, Cephalotaxus harringtonia, is native to Japan, Korea and eastern China, where it grows in the forest understory.

Culture

The plum yews are slow growers, some taking as long as 10 years to reach 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) in height. They grow best in sandy, slightly acidic soils. They should be sheltered from strong winds. Light: Japanese plum yew will thrive in a semi-shady to shady position in warm climates, but should have more sun in cooler regions. Moisture: Regular water and well drained soil. Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 - 9. New growth in spring will be damaged by a late frost. 'Nana' is said to be hardy to zone 5. Propagation: Seeds can take 2 years to germinate, and they require a pre-germination chilling period. Plant seeds in labeled pots and leave them outside through the winter and be patient! Plum yews also can be propagated from cuttings. Use tip cuttings of upward growing semi-ripe wood in summer or autumn. Cuttings from lateral shoots may grow into prostrate, creeping shrubs.
plum yew
The needles of C. harringtonia var. drupacea are arranged in two rows, held in a V-shaped trough.

Usage

Japanese plum yew has the potential to be a very useful landscape plant in the southern US. It is more tolerant of heat than the true yews (Taxus), more interesting than most of the junipers, and more tolerant of shade than almost any needle evergreen. And deer don't eat it! Japanese plum yew tolerates severe pruning, and makes a good hedge in a semi-shady or even shady area. It is well suited for foundation plantings. The cultivar 'Fastigiata' makes an interesting specimen that is sure to attract attention anywhere.

The fleshy, plumlike fruits are a popular food in Japan, where plum yews are cultivated for that purpose. Plum yews are dioecious and it is necessary to have at least one male plant for every five females to insure a good seed crop.

Features

The plum yews are similar to, and closely related to, the yews, family Taxaceae. There are only seven species in the genus Cephalotaxus and Cephalotaxus is the only genus in the family Cephalotaxaceae.

Steve Christman 10/1/07



Master Plant List

Click here to find plants in our Encyclopedia using the Master Plant List grid. Use this widget to search, sort and filter Floridata's plant database to easily locate Plant Profile pages. Use the dropdown menus to filter the grid to display items matching the selected Plant Type and Feature tags.

Plant Type Tags

tree icon
shrub icon
palm
perennial plant icon
aquatic plant icon
cactus and succulents icon
grass icon
vine icon

Feature Tags

Attracts Birds
Attracts butterflies
Attracts Hummingbirds
Edible Plants
Cutting and Arranging
medicinal
for pots and containers
indoors
shade
drought tolerant plants
grows in wet soils
flowers
ornamental fruits
fall color
foliage plants
evergreen
easy to grow plants
fast growing

Site Search

Use Google to search all of the pages on Floridata including the Plant Profile pages




Cephalotaxus species profiled on Floridata:


Cephalotaxus harringtonia

( Japanese plum yew, Harrington plum yew, cow-tail pine, plum yew )

Copyright 2015 Floridata.com LLC