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photograph

Tree about 5 m tall in understory of Pinus-Abies forest [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.18].

photograph

Seedling about 20 cm tall [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.18].

photograph

Foliage, upper surface [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.18].

photograph

Foliage, lower surface, with unripe pollen cones [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.18].

 

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Conservation status

Taxus globosa

Schlectendahl 1838

Common names

Mexican yew (Hartzell 1991).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: T. baccata subsp. globosa Pilger 1916 (Hartzell 1991).

Description

Tree or shrub to 4.6 m tall. Light green leaves are larger and sharper than those of T. baccata, and the mature red female aril is larger than that of any other yew (Hartzell 1991).

Distribution and Ecology

Mexico: Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, Querétaro, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Oaxaca; Guatemala; Honduras; El Salvador (Hartzell 1991). Hardy to Zone 8 (cold hardiness limit between -12.1°C and -6.7°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Big tree

Oldest

Dendrochronology

Ethnobotany

Observations

Although widespread in Mexico, it is nowhere very common. In Oaxaca, it is said to occur along Highway 175 in the vicinity of Ixtlan. In Nuevo León, it has been found in the understory of Picea-Abies forest near La Trinidad at 25° 11'N, 100° 07'W. In Tamaulipas, it occurs in cloud forest of the El Cielo Biosphere Preserve at about 23° 00'N, 99° 15'W, with Acer skutchii, Liquidambar styraciflua, Magnolia tamaulipana, Podocarpus matudae, Pinus sp., and Quercus germanica (R. Nicholson, pers. comm. 2005.05).

I found it (photos at left) south of El Salto in Nuevo León at 23.9146°N, 99.8018°W, growing in the shady understory of a forest of Abies religiosa and various species of Pinus. The area is readily accessible by a dirt or gravel road, which is in better condition when one approaches the site from the north.

Remarks

Citations

See also

Nicholson, R. 1992. Death and Taxus. Natural History 101(9): 20-23.

Nicholson, R. 1992. Taxol levels of Taxus globosa, the Mexican Yew [Abstract]. Second National Cancer Institute Workshop on Taxol and Taxus. Alexandria, VA.

Nicholson, R. 1993. Studies of Taxus globosa, the Mexican Yew [Abstract]. International Yew Resources Conference, Berkeley, CA.

Nicholson, R., and D.X. Munn. 2003. Observations on the propagation of Taxus globosa. Bulletin of the Botanical Society of Mexico 72:129-130.

Shemluck, M., R. Nicholson, E. Estrada, and S. Brobst. 2003. A preliminary study of taxane chemistry and natural history of the Mexican yew, Taxus globosa. Bulletin of the Botanical Society of Mexico 72: 119-127.

Last Modified 2012-11-23