The members of theTaxaceaefamilyare highly branched small trees orshrubs with needle-shaped or linear lancet leaves. The leaves of yews are evergreen, spirally arranged with light green or white stripes on the inferior side. Most species aredioecious, more rarelymonoecious.
The generative organs are located within their ‘bosom’.The male cones are 2-5 cm long and spread their pollen in the beginning of spring. The female cones are highly reduced,with just one integument and one seed.At the ripening of the seeds, the integument develops in a fleshy aril, a formation characteristic of the yews and resembling a fruit. The mature aril is brightly colored, soft, juicy and sweet. It is used as food by the birds and it is in this way that they dispurse the hard seeds.
The familyconsists of 3 genera and7 to12 species, but in this country of greater significance is just one yew species – the common yew (Taxus baccata L.).