Taxus brevifolia – Pacific Yew Tree

The Pacific Yew Tree Presentation

On May 7th, my lab partners and I had to give a presentation about a specific tree for my Botany class. One of my lab partners wanted to do a presentation about Taxus brevifolia. It is also called “Pacific Yew” tree. I had to write the introduction and distribution. During the presentation, I only talked about the introduction.

The Pacific Yew tree, a conifer, is a dioecious and shade tolerant specie that is of significant value. It had a minute value in the past; however, with more trials, researcher has discovered that its bark can be extracted to produce an anti-cancer drug. After a successful trial, the drug was called Taxol. Because of this great anti-tumor discover, the pacific yew is in danger to be extinct. Numerous management strategies are being developed to restore and cultivate the tree since it has a high economical demand. It is still unknown if the male and the female plants can change light environments to be able to adjust morphologically and physiologically. The tree can not only survive under the sun even though it is a shade tolerant specie, but it has an extremely efficient light harvesting system. More studies are needed and more questions should be addressed to provide enough information to provide patterns of genetic variation.


The Pacific yew tree is indigenous to the three northwestern states: California, Oregon, and Washington. The Pacific yew is also found in the southwestern parts of Alaska. More specifically, it is also scattered on the inland forest of the Klamath and Cascade ranges of California.


Mitchell, A. “Acclimation of Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia) foliage to sun and shade” Tree Physiology 18.

Scher, Stanley; Schwarzschild, Bert (1989). “Pacific Yew: a Faculative Riparian Conifer with an Uncertain Future”


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