Taxus baccata is a native evergreen non‐resinous gymnosperm tree up to 20(−28) m, often with multiple trunks and spreading, rounded or pyramidal canopy. Capable of producing leafy branches from old branches and trunks, and sometimes from stools. Root system shallow with extensive horizontal roots, often above ground on calcareous substrates. Bark reddish‐brown, thin, scaly. Branches long, not whorled. Twigs green and irregularly alternate; buds very small, bud scales dark‐brown, rounded, imbricate and closely appressed. Leaves, spirally attached but on lateral shoots twisted more or less into two ranks, can live for up to 8 years; 1–3(−4.5) cm long and 2–3 mm wide, parallel‐sided, shortly stalked, mucronate, dark glossy green above, paler and yellowish beneath with two pale stomatiferous stripes; midrib prominent on both sides, margins recurved, tapering to a petiole‐like base. Normally dioecious, rarely monoecious; reproductive structures green, borne in leaf axils near the end of the previous summer's growth. Male parts in small cones (simple strobili; Mundry & Mundry 2001 ) 2–3 mm diameter, made up of 6–14 stalked peltate microsporophylls each with 4–9 pollen‐sacs; strobili in clusters of up to 20–30 near branch ends. Female structures (ovuliferous brachyblasts sensu Stützel & Röwekamp 1999 ) 1.5–2.0 mm
Journal of Ecology – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 2003
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