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Taxus brevifolia is a member of the yew familyTaxaceae. The yew is a dioecious evergreen tree or shrub that is widelydistributed over the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere. T.brevifolia is most commonly known as the Pacific Yew, but it may also be referred to as the Western or American Yew. It grows mostly in moist soils in British Columbia, Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, and currently it is considered a threatened species. Like other members of this family, T. brevifolia is characterized by a conical crown and slender, drooping horizontal branches. The trunk is limby and often contorted or malformed. The twigs are slender, hairless, and green. The bark is very thin and scaly with a dark reddish or purple color, and its root system is fibrous. These yews produce red, berrylike fruits instead of cones and have flat, evergreen needles that grow all around the stem. Their wood is hard, durable and elastic. The bright red fruits of yews are called arils and each cups a single seed which can be deadly if ingested. There are ten different species within the Taxus family.The most common and important ones are:

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