The hard, reddish wood is prized for wood carving and making archery bows, but yew has minor commercial importance in Canada. English and Japanese yew are popular introduced ORNAMENTALS. The leaves, bark and seeds are toxic, however, an extract, taxol, from the bark and leaves is an important drug used for treating certain types of cancer. Taxus species were facing harvesting pressures until this chemical was synthesized in the laboratory in the early 1990s.
Author JOHN N. OWENS
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