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Death tree: everything you need to know about thetaxus baccata. From the care to be dedicated to the plant (or hedge) to its poison. From cultivation to botanical characteristics.
Thecommon rate, also known astree of death, is a plant of the order ofconifers, widely used forcultivation of the hedge. It is due to the toxicity of its plant parts that thecommon ratewas renamedtree of death. Its botanical name istaxus baccata.
Taxus baccata or death tree
Thecommon rateis counted amongpoisonous plantsmost cultivated for ornamental purposes. In Italy, it is more widespread in the center and in the north. It cancultivatewith bearingshrubby, then ahedge, or alberello: some varieties reach a stalk of important dimensions.
Thecommon rate is an evergreen tree that can reach between 10 and 20 meters in height. It has a very slow growth and is therefore suitable for setting uphedgeslow maintenance.
Is the badger poisonous?
Yes. Yew is a toxic plant. In particular, seeds, leaves and branches contain the "poison“, A plant-based active ingredient that can cause cardiac arrest.
The plant does not produce fruit butarils, that is, fleshy red growths that cover the seed.
The active ingredientpoisonousit is an alkaloid present in branches, shoots, leaves and seeds. In some parts of the plant the toxin can reach and exceed a concentration of 2% of the total composition. This substancetoxicis known, for its origins, astaxin.
It has a narcotic and paralyzing effect for humans and pets, up to the point of causing cardiac arrest.
The oldest leaves of the plant have the highest concentrations of this poison, especially when dried. A poisoningfatalin humans it appears to be very rare.
Not only that, a kind of highly allergenic pollen is released from the flowers. Pollen,cytotoxic, can cause headaches, fatigue, lethargy, joint pain, skin rashes and trigger asthma. The cytotoxic grains released by the flowers are only 15 microns, so they spread easily in the air.
Are yew fruits edible?
If deprived of seeds, the outer part of the aril (that is, the red and fleshy one) is edible and rich in sugars.
In case of ingestion of the seeds, immediately contact the nearest emergency room and alert a poison control center.
Be careful not to accidentally ingest the seeds and not to confuse the yew leaves with edible leaves! A decoction, especially if prepared with dried leaves, can be fatal. Those most at risk are the elderly and children. The lighter symptoms of badger poisoning are: vomiting, anusea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, visual changes, circulatory disturbances, excitations ... The most serious, as reported, are paralysis and cardiac arrest (death).
Even if in the past thetree of deathit was used for the preparation of variousnatural remedies, given the high toxicity, we do not recommend the use of the plant to exploit the alleged onesproperty.
Yew hedge, cultivation
Therateis a plant fromhedgevery appreciated. It has slow growth, resistance to pruning, resistance to cold, good disease tolerance ... in short,neglectingthe detail that it is thetree of death, i.e. a potentially fatal plant, it is a good choice.
To be avoided, undoubtedly, in the case of small children and pets who have the habit ofto consumeeverything.
L'tree of deathit is very tolerant to pruning provided, however, to beoften cut. In fact, no conifer can standpruningdrastic, the rateit is undoubtedly more tolerant but better to prefer several pruning interventions to be distributed throughout the year.When to prune the yew hedge?
Only in this period are interventions of drastic pruning. With the drastic pruning, the lateral branches can also be cut up to the main stem.
In June and then in September.
With asummer pruningand another with the approach of autumn, it will be possible to guarantee theratethe right shape, without the need to perform otherspruningextremely drastic. Action is taken to avoid that for the rest of the winter, theratehas unsightly branches that are too long.