Taxus baccata

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< On the list of Rare and Endangered Plants of Armenia

The European Yew

File:240px-TXbaccata.jpg The European Yew (Taxus baccata), also known as Common Yew or English Yew, is often found in churchyards; some are exceptionally large (over 3 m diameter) and likely to be over 3,000 years old, long predating the churches they are beside. It is likely that yew trees had a pre-Christian association with old pagan holy sites and many believe that the enormous sacred evergreen at the pagan Temple at Uppsala was a yew. The Christian church consequently found it expedient to use and take over these existing sites for churches. It is sometimes suggested that these were planted as a symbol of long life or trees of death. Another explanation is that the yews were planted to discourage farmers and drovers from letting their animals wander into the burial grounds, with the poisonous foliage being the disincentive.



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Plant in Armenia

Կենի հատապտղային, բզենի կարմրածառ (“Keni hataptghayin, bzeni karmratsar”)

Status

Very rare species. Has a very high quality wood, which was the reason for decrease in number. Mainly met in north-east, and rarely in the south-eastern part of Armenia.

Habitat in Armenia

Met in the floristic regions of Ijevan, and Zangezur.

Habitat and ecology

Grows in shadowy and humid forests. Can be met in the height of 1800 meters above sea level.

Biology and potential value

Is a valuable wood. Contains alcaliod toxin. The leaves contain ethereal oil having irritating features. The plant is poisonous. Used in folk medicine.

Measures of protection

Protected in reserves. Included in the Red Book of the Soviet Union.

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yew