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Useful Temperate Plants

Taxus wallichiana

Zucc.

Taxaceae


In most of the literature before the year 2000 only the species Taxus wallichiana Pilg., is recognized as native to the Himalayan mountain chain [often referred to as Taxus baccata ssp. wallichiana (Zucc.) Pilg.]. More recently, all of the populations occurring from central Nepal westward to northern Pakistan and Afghanistan have been assigned to the species Taxus contorta Griff. It is quite distinct from both Taxus wallichiana and from Taxus baccata, which does not reach further east than Northern Iran[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
Two other species, Taxus chinensis and Taxus mairei, were included in Taxus wallichiana as varieties in the Flora of China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
] but these are now treated as distinct species. In Malesia, the species Taxus celebica and Taxus sumatrana, although sometimes considered to be distinct, do not differ consistently in their morphological characters from Taxus wallichiana and are included here as synonyms[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
The species of Taxus are more geographically than morphologically separable; and they were all treated by Pilger (1903) as subspecies of Taxus baccata. All species are poisonous; most contain the anti-cancer agent taxol; and a study of heartwood constituents of Taxus baccata, Taxus brevifolia, Taxus cuspidata and Taxus floridana found them to be chemically almost identical. However, the vast ecological amplitude displayed by the various described species (over 60° of latitude and an impressive temperature and precipitation range) suggests that they are, in a meaningful sense, true species. Detailed study of the genus (not neglecting the cultivated representatives), including extensive fieldwork, is much needed and long overdue[
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
].

+ Synonyms

Cephalotaxus celebica Warb.

Cephalotaxus mannii E.Pritz. ex Diels

Cephalotaxus sumatrana Miq.

Podocarpus celebicus Hemsl.

Taxus baccata wallichiana (Zucc.) Pilg.

Taxus celebica (Warb.) H.L.Li

Taxus contorta mucronata Spjut

Taxus nucifera Wall.

Taxus obscura Spjut

Taxus orientalis Bertol.

Taxus phytonii Spjut

Taxus suffnesii Spjut

Taxus sumatrana (Miq.) de Laub.

Taxus yunnanensis W.C.Cheng & L.K.Fu

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Taxus wallichiana is an evergreen shrub or a tree. In open situations on rocky slopes and cliffs it usually forms a large, broadly spreading shrub, but in woodland it is more likely to become a small to medium-sized tree[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. The leaves and bark have been harvested commercially from the wild as a source of the anticancer drug taxol'. This harvesting has proved to be unsustainable, and efforts are being made to cultivate the plant for this purpose. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental, mainly in Asia[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
Across most of its range through the Himalayas and western China, Taxus wallichiana has been heavily exploited for its leaves and bark which are used to produce the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel or similar chemicals. Declines of up to 90% have been reported in India and Nepal while in western China declines of more than 50% have been reported. The degree of exploitation in Myanmar is uncertain. In Viet Nam the subpopulation is limited to several hundred trees within a very limited area of Lam Dong Province. This remnant subpopulation was more extensive in the recent past but has declined due to deforestation and conversion of forests for agriculture. The status of Taxus populations in the Philippines and Indonesia is less clear. Some reports of exploitation associated with taxol production have come from the Philippines (Agillion 2007) but these have not been well documented. Although the Philippines has lost the vast majority of its forest cover through logging and agricultural expansion, the degree to which this has effected Taxus is unknown and ground truthing of both recent and historic records is needed. In Sulawesi and Sumatera widespread deforestation has been concentrated in the lowlands rather than the montane areas where estimates of decline are as low as 5% (Cannon et al. 2007, Laumonier et al. 2010). As with the Philippines further field work is required to ascertain the status of Taxus in these areas. The plant is classified as 'Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

All parts of the plant, except the flesh of the fruit (actually an aril), are potentially highly poisonous. They contain the alkaloid taxine and , if ingested, can cause nervousness, trembling, slow pulse, pupil dilation, difficult breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness and convulsions - in larger doses it can be fatal, having a paralyzing affect on the heart[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
,
10
Title
Poisonous Plants and Animals.
Publication
 
Author
Altmann. H.
Publisher
Chatto and Windus
Year
1980
ISBN
0-7011-2526-8
Description
A small book, reasonable but not very detailed.
,
19
Title
Poisonous Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Stary. F.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1983
ISBN
0-600-35666-3
Description
Not very comprehensive, but easy reading.
,
65
Title
A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Frohne. D. and Pfänder. J.
Publisher
Wolfe
Year
1984
ISBN
0723408394
Description
Brilliant. Goes into technical details but in a very readable way. The best work on the subject that I've come across so far.
,
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
].

Botanical References


Range

E. Asia - southwest China, Nepal, northeastern India, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia

Habitat

A small to large understorey or lower canopy tree in montane, temperate, warm temperate, and tropical submontane to high montane coniferous, broad-leaved and mixed forest; at elevations from 900 - 3,700 metres[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusEndangered
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height6.00 m
PollinatorsWind
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Plants are very shade tolerant[
81
Title
Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Rushforth. K.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7470-2801-X
Description
Deals with conifers that can be grown outdoors in Britain. Good notes on cultivation and a few bits about plant uses.
], though they can also succeed in full sun. They thrive in almost any soil, acid or alkaline, as long as it is well-drained[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The plant grows in the wild on acidic to neutral soils that are mostly derived from silicate-bearing rocks[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. Succeeds in dry soils. Plants grow best in a position sheltered from cold, dry winds[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].
Since the exploitation of Himalayan yew for its foliage containing taxanes has proved to be unsustainable, cultivation efforts are being undertaken in the Himalayan foothills and elsewhere in India; this involves both species Taxus contorta and Taxus wallichiana.
Because of its similarity with the European Yew (Taxus baccata), this species is rarely found in cultivation in Europe, but is used as an ornamental elsewhere, as in Baguio, Philippines[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
The tree has a very long life-span and can be coppiced. It may resprout even from very old stumps[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
A dioecious species, both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Edible Uses

The only non-toxic part of yews, the fleshy aril around the seed, is consumed by local inhabitants as jams[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

We have no further information for this species, but the fruit (a fleshy aril) of all members of the genus should be edible. The following is a general description.
Fruit - raw[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
65
Title
A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Frohne. D. and Pfänder. J.
Publisher
Wolfe
Year
1984
ISBN
0723408394
Description
Brilliant. Goes into technical details but in a very readable way. The best work on the subject that I've come across so far.
,
81
Title
Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Rushforth. K.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7470-2801-X
Description
Deals with conifers that can be grown outdoors in Britain. Good notes on cultivation and a few bits about plant uses.
,
158
Title
Forest Flora of Chakrata, Dehra Dun and Saharanpur.
Publication
 
Author
Gupta. B. L.
Publisher
Forest Research Institute Press
Year
1945
ISBN
-
Description
A good flora for the middle Himalayan forests, sparsly illustrated. Not really for the casual reader.
]. Very sweet and gelatinous, most people find it delicious though some find it sickly[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. A number of people who like the flavour do not like the texture which is often described as being 'snotty'[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]
All other parts of this plant, including the seed, are highly poisonous. When eating the fruit you should spit out the large seed found in the fruit's centre. Should you swallow the whole seed it will just pass straight through you without harm. If it is bitten into, however, you will notice a very bitter flavour and the seed should immediately be spat out or it could cause some problems. The fruit is a fleshy berry about 10mm in diameter and containing a single seed[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Medicinal

The alkaloid compounds (taxanes) of the bark are a source for the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol) which has become a major reason for exploitation in recent years. The leaves yield similar chemicals in low concentrations[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Traditional medicine has made use of young shoots and leaves and sometimes of inner bark for a long time in various potions, tinctures, and pastes[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

The following uses were originally stated for Taxus baccata growing wild in India. It is now considered that Taxus baccata is not found wild in India and that references to that taxon apply to Taxus mairei and Taxus wallichiana (both in the eastern Himalayas) and Taxus contorta (in the western Himalayas)
The leaves and fruits are antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue and sedative[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
]. The leaves are used in the treatment of asthma, bronchitism hiccough, epilepsy and indigestion[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].
Care should be taken in the use of this remedy - see notes above on toxicity.

Other Uses

The bark of most, if not all species of taxus is a moderate source of tannins[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
,
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
The inner bark produces a red dye, often used in religious ceremonies by Brahmins of Nepal[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

The wood is burnt as incense in Nepal and parts of Tibet[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

The wood is durable and strong. It is used for door frames, cabinet work and wood turning and wood inlaying, also for candlesticks, knife handles etc. Less refined products are gates and fences, poles, struts and 'wattle and daub' in walls of rural buildings[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
The wood is used as fuel[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Propagation

Seed - can be very slow to germinate, often taking 2 or more years[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
,
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
]. It is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn when it should germinate 18 months later. Stored seed may take 2 years or more to germinate. 4 months warm followed by 4 months cold stratification may help reduce the germination time[
113
Title
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
Publication
 
Author
Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W.
Publisher
Athens Ga. Varsity Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0942375009
Description
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
]. Harvesting the seed 'green' (when fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and then sowing it immediately has not been found to reduce the germination time because the inhibiting factors develop too early[
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in pots in a cold frame. The seedlings are very slow-growing and will probably require at least 2 years of pot cultivation before being large enough to plant out. Any planting out is best done in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Cuttings of half-ripe terminal shoots, 5 - 8cm long, July/August in a shaded frame. Should root by late September but leave them in the frame over winter and plant out in late spring[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
]. High percentage[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
Cuttings of ripe terminal shoots, taken in winter after a hard frost, in a shaded frame[
113
Title
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
Publication
 
Author
Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W.
Publisher
Athens Ga. Varsity Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0942375009
Description
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
].
Layering
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-10-19. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Taxus+wallichiana>

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