Stop 10 Yew b

Yew b

  • Yew trees are associated with churchyards and there are at least 500 churchyards in England which contain yew trees older than the buildings themselves. It is not clear why, but it is thought that yew trees were planted on the graves of plague victims to protect and purify the dead, and also in churchyards to stop 'commoners' from grazing their cattle on church ground as yew is extremely poisonous to livestock.
  • Anti-cancer compounds are harvested from the foliage of Taxus baccata and used in modern medicine. Yew trees contain the highly poisonous taxane alkaloids that have been developed as anti-cancer drugs. Eating just a few leaves can make a small child severely ill and there have been some deaths linked to yew poisoning. All parts of the tree are poisonous. The oldest tree in the UK is this yew in a churchyard in Perthshire (estimated 2-300 years old)
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