Since I do not have many Taxus (common name yew) plants, I will include Taxus baccata (English Yew), Taxus cuspidata (Japanese Yew) and their hybrid Taxus x media in this page. This is a very versatile group of plants for garden composition use; dark green (or golden) foliage, do well from full sun to full shade, and can be pruned to almost any shape. It is very difficult to tell the differences between these three groups of Taxus.
Taxus baccata ‘Aurea’?
The first conifer that lured me into the conifer universe was a yellow yew in a one gallon contain that I accidentally picked up from Vineland Nursery. The original plant had since died from a brute force transplant, but I have propagated many from cuttings. I also acquired one from Woodland Nursery in Mississauga which was labelled Taxus baccata ‘Aurea’ that looked ‘identical’ except bigger. When I tried to definitively identify the cultivar name of these plants many years later, it became obvious that it would not be easy. My first thought was it is not likely that these are baccata because they are so hardy (and will likely survive Zone 4b at my cottage if the deer did not ate the young transplant promptly). For years, I just casually assumed that they are cuspidata ‘Aurea’. However, searching through my books and internet recently appears to suggest that Taxus cuspidata ‘Aurea’ may not exist. So I will leave them as Taxus baccata ‘Aurea’ for now.
Taxus baccata ‘Melfard’
This is a dark green compact upright plant. My plant is still very small.
Taxus cuspidata ‘Aurescens’
The yellow spring foliage of this plant is similar to Taxus baccata ‘Aurea’, but the shape remains a relatively low mound (less than 1 m) even after 20 years. I was fortunate enough to acquire the two plants I have from RBG plant sale. (You can get lucky in RBG plant Sale in those days before they become a commerce centric organization in recent years)
Taxus cuspidata ‘Nana Aurescens’
This is a recent acquisition. I hope it will be even more compact than my Taxus cuspidata ‘Aurescens’.
Taxus cuspidata ‘Nana’
This plant is more than 20 years old, and remain about 0.5 m high and spread minimal control. The dark green foliage, the compactness, and the tough and forgiving growing habit make it an ideal element in a perennial bed. Surprisingly, this is one of very few dwarf conifers that one can readily get in my area in those days.
Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’
When we first moved here, the garden had nothing but a few rundown lilacs and overgrown Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’ around the foundation. I have to cut down the yews so that I can get some light into the house. I did propagate one from cutting and planted it under a Dawn Redwood tree temporarily, but I forgot about it, and it is too big to move now.