29 October 2014

Y...

...is for Yew...


...Latin name Taxus derived from the Greek toxon, meaning bow.  This is a highly poisonous tree and this connection formed the derivative 'Toxin' which has been given to poisons in general.  The Yew is dioecious, the male and female flowers are on separate trees, the pollen is spread by the wind.  Wind pollination is generally a hit and miss affair so any tree that is wind pollinated produces masses of it.  The fruit, which is only to be found on female trees is small and green (you can just see two in the middle of this picture), the beautiful red parts are a cup grown to cover the fruit, which becomes a black seed inside.  The seeds are distributed by the birds who devour them, particularly thrushes and blackbirds, the seed is not digested and the birds drop them as they fly.

They live to a ripe old age, some are thought to be thousands of years old.  They achieve this great age as branches and shoots root into the ground and eventually grow to form new trunks, which then join the main trunk.

Joining in with the Alphabet Photography Project

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful photo, and I love your new banner!

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  2. That is supper interesting. Those red cups look almost plastic.
    Love the new header!

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  3. Beautiful photo. I have a real tenderness towards yews. We have several in our yard and those waxy red berries are always a delight to see - it's as though they are lit from within. I never knew they could grow to be so old - thanks for that little bit of trivia :)

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  4. Yews always remind me of ancient winter rituals and feasting - I love the dark, dark green and those red fruits (well, fruit covers!).
    Sarah.

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  5. Ah ha. We did choose the same one. Great information too. They are such wonderful trees. #AlphabetPhoto

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  6. What a beautiful photograph. x

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  7. Such a beautiful tree, but I had no idea they were poisonous!

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  8. Another really interesting post! Beautiful photograph, the red cups jump out at you x #alphabetphoto

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