Yew berries Common yew - Taxus baccata

The common yew is one of only three conifers native to the UK.  Wood from yew trees is among the hardest of the soft woods but it is also very flexible, making it ideal for making longbows. So popular was its wood for making longbows that it went into decline in the wild in medieval times.  This was followed by a royal command yew be grown in churchyards during Medieval times so that in the event of need, its wood could be harvested for making longbows.    Yew and its presence in churchyards is also associated with religious lore because of its evergreen foliage and bright red berries in winter. 

It is a source of the anti-cancer drug Taxol. 

Bedgebury is home to the national yew collection of the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (Plant Heritage).