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Cephalotaxus harringtonia - (Knight. ex J.Forbes.)K.Koch.

Common Name Japanese Plum Yew
Family Cephalotaxaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats An understorey shrub in woodlands[109, 200]. In temperate deciduous forests at elevations of 600 - 1000 metres[275].
Range E. Asia - Japan.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Cephalotaxus harringtonia Japanese Plum Yew


Cephalotaxus harringtonia Japanese Plum Yew
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Gerhard_Elsner

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Cephalotaxus harringtonia is an evergreen Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from October to November. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Wind. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Taxus harringtonia.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Hedge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Oil;  Oil;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Oil;  Oil.

Fruit. - raw or cooked. About 2 - 3cm long[200]. The fruit of this plant is said to be astringent and inedible even when fully ripe[200]. However, several of its sub-species produce a very nice sweet fruit - see cultivation details for more information. Seed - raw or cooked[81, 105]. Oily[1] with a slightly resinous flavour[K]. The seed is up to 15mm long.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



None known

Other Uses

Hedge;  Hedge;  Oil;  Oil.

An oil obtained from the seed is used as an illuminant[105]. Very tolerant of pruning, this plant makes a very good hedge in shady positions[200].

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist well-drained sandy soil but succeeds in most soils though it dislikes dry gravelly or chalky soils[1, 200]. Prefers a position in semi-shade but tolerates full shade[11, 81] and it also succeeds but does not usually thrive in full sun[200]. It grows very well in the mild wet coastal region of W. Scotland where it succeeds even in full sun[200]. Requires a humid sheltered site[200], strongly disliking very exposed positions[1]. Although the dormant plant is very cold-hardy, the young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. The Japanese plum yew is a very slow growing tree[185] with an excellent potential as a food crop in Britain. It generally has a large crop of fruit and seeds, these are often eaten in Japan. In addition, the seeds seem to be immune to the predations of squirrels, the seed on trees growing at Kew Botanical gardens being untouched even though virtually every other nut tree there has its crop destroyed[K]. There has been some confusion in the naming of this species. Some botanists have separated off C. drupacea as a separate species, though most nowadays include it as a subspecies of this plant as C. harringtonia drupacea. (Sieb.&Zucc.)Koidzumi., differing from the species in its shortly pedunculate male catkins[81]. In cultivation it is often known as the variety 'Fastigiata'[81]. Another subspecies, C. harringtonia nana. (Nakai.)Rehd. is a small spreading shrub to 2 metres, spreading by means of suckers[81, 200]. This form is said to have the best fruit of this genus[200], it is a very hardy plant, succeeding as far north as S. Sweden and Nova Scotia[200]. Plants are dioecious, but female plants sometimes produce fruits and infertile seeds in the absence of any male plants[11]. However, at least one male plant for every five females should be grown if you are growing the plants for fruit and seed. Plants have also been known to change sex[81]. Male cones are produced in the axils of the previous year's leaves, whilst female cones are borne at the base of branchlets[200].

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[113], it should then germinate in the following spring[K]. A hard seedcoat can delay germination, especially in if the seed is not sown as soon as it is ripe[81, K]. Stored seed should be cold-stratified and sown in a cold frame in the spring[200]. 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[1, 200]. Difficult[113].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Asia, Australia, China, Korea, Japan, USA,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants

 

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Expert comment

Author

(Knight. ex J.Forbes.)K.Koch.

Botanical References

11200275

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Dorothy Parker   Sat Mar 8 2008

If we plant this as a hedge and it is being clipped could the cuttings on the ground be poisonous for chooks?

Dorothy Parker   Thu Mar 13 2008

Son is planting 30 Taxus Cephalotaxus Harringtonia for hedges. I am concerned as there are chooks there could it poison the chooks??

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