In the recent past, I have disliked the shrub often called just “Yew” because I’ve felt they were overused in our American residential landscapes, and they required a lot of work on my part to maintain. But in recent years I’ve come to be a little fonder of this evergreen plant.
We have a row of yews along the north and south fence that surrounds our pool area. Every year for the past 30 years, I’ve had the dreaded responsibility of keeping them trimmed so they don’t intrude upon the walkway around the pool. Ugh!
Fortunately, the owner who built our home nearly 45 years ago had the foresight to leave one lowly plant along the south fence. Because it was by itself and out of the way, I have neglected to trim it and now reaches upwards of 10-12 feet. It has rewarded me with lovely red fruit — the perfect Christmas combination — my favorite time of the year!
I delight in seeing the bright red fruit this very tall yew produces in place of the typical conifer pine cone. This red berry-like fruit is called an “aril” and it is consumed not only by the local Robins, but also the elusive Cedar Waxwings. It’s an added delight to see them dart in and out of the yew to steal the tasty fruit.
In searching to find out more about this shrub, I’ve learned that there are a number of native varieties in various sizes, shapes and heights that grow throughout Southeast Canada and various areas in the United States ( Northeastern, North Central, Southeastern US, Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest). It is also referred to as Canadian Yew.