Cephalotaxus - Plum Yew
DESCRIPTION: This group consists of four evergreen shrubs or shrubby trees that are natives of the Himalayas and eastern Asia. Commonly known as Plum Yews, the female plants produce large, olive-like fruits that ripen in their second year. C. fortunei var. Prostrate Spreader is a low-growing shrub that spreads very widely. It grows up to 3 feet high and spreads as much as 15 feet. The branches of this Plum Yew are spirally covered in two opposite rows of slender, dark green, lanceolate leaves, 21/2 to 31/2 inches long. This shrub can live in very shady positions. C. harringtonia var. drupacea (Japanese Plum Yew) is a compact, medium-sized shrub that rarely grows more than 10 feet high. The leaves, which are 3/4 to 2 inches long, cover the pendant branchlets. The olive-green fruits are 3/4 to 11/4 inches long.
POTTING: Plum Yews can be grown in sandy loam, well-drained peat, or heavy loam that is lime-free. Shallow soil containing excessive lime isn't suitable. They may be planted in early spring or fall, in a sunny or shady position. Any pruning needed to maintain a shapely appearance may be done in the summer.
PROPAGATION: Seeds may be sown in sandy soil in a greenhouse with a minimum temperature of 50º F, in the spring. Cuttings may be made of young shoots, 4 or 5 inches long, in September or October. They should be inserted in a greenhouse propagating bed.
VARIETIES: C. fortunei & var. Prostrate Spreader; C. harringtonia & var. drupacea, fastigiata, gnome.
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