Botany

Taxus baccata or itamos or taxos in hellenic is an evergreen. Its leaves are dark green with edges. They look like natural needles. The bark usually grows to 2 meters in diameter. Its fruit is red, which can be seen in March and April. It grows in soil full of calcium, so the ph should be beyond 7. It is a friend of mountains. It is afraid of strong snow and hot climates.It doesn't like continuous snowing of hot sun. It likes half-shadowed areas, thus from 4 hours a day exposure to sunlight. It can be found in clearings of a forest. The tree can be used as a fence or as one tree. Witches prefer to grow it normally as a tree. Except the cutting for making its shape, we do not disbud the tree. It has some enemy bugs (lepidopteron and coleopteron) that attack and reduce its growth. Moreover, the roots can be infected by fungus, so do not water it often, or put some stones in the roots when you plant it. It can profilerate with its fruits by removing the outer level and put it in a pot in spring. Then we put the pot in a hot and dry environment. Another way of cultivation is by birds who eats the fruit and then they cast it out. The complete height if the tree is 14 meters. Its width may be 8 meters. Yew's parts are all poisonous due to the alkaloid taxine. The most dangerous part are the seeds and the most non dangerous is the fruit. Other essenses are taxakatine, milosine, ephedrine and others.

Mythology

Ancient Hellenes believed that yew was sacred to the Furies (Erynies). Artemis used yew's branches to make poisonous arrows. Ancient Celts used yew's juice to poison their arrows. The poison remains in the wood even the wood is dried. Native Americans used it for curing lung diseases. Other cultures used it for abortions, poisoning. for asthma, epilepsy, rheumatisms, stomachaches... and as a spasmolytic, as an analgetic. Mainly, the needles and the small branches were used with the method of decoction.

Nowadays it is used for medical reasons to cure cancer (chemotherapy) and in homeopathy. Due to continuous use of the bark, it is considered a rare tree, so it should be cultivated more. In Spain it is cultivated in cemeteries. In France and England it can be found in churches.

It is a tree of life and death. It lives many centuries, till millenia and it can kill in some hours without any notice. In Ophica Argonautica is reffered as a herb in the Garden of Hekate. Necromantic wands are made by yew. It's energy is saturnean. It has the power to call and raise the dead.

An eight minutes video with yew.

Hey, this is my yew! taxus_or_yew.jpg