Throughout Europe up to latitude 60° north. Especially in England it has been cultivated for centuries because of its significance for making bowstaves and as a protective tree for small game. This is why there are still large stands in England today and the reason for the country being the main supplier of yew logs. Because of its small dimensions and being very susceptible to defects such as knots, inner checking and calcereous deposits, wood suitable for slicing is very rare and correspondingly expensive. In Germany Yew is protected by preservation rights. Largest known occurrence is in the municipal forest of Banská Bystrica (SK) with approx. 300,000 trees. All components of the tree are poisonous except for its red fruit cups. The bark of the taxus brevifolia (USA) is said to heal cancer.
A very good and expensive veneer wood. Decorative and exclusive furniture often in the English style. Seldom possible to find clean, large surface veneer and thus often used as inlays to upgrade the value of furniture. Ideal wood also for high quality turneries and wood carvings.
Sapwood and heartwood are clearly de ned. The heartwood is brownish, red-brown to orange-brown. Required in the veneer is the so-called pepper. These are tiny dots in the veneer arranged in a pattern, ideally in clusters. The annual rings are very narrow and occur as deep, dark annual zones.
Yew can be easily and well machined with all tools. Planed Surfaces are very smooth.
Due to its low shrinkage Yew can be dried relatively free of tension.
Surface treatments take well.
Screw and nail joints hold well. Glue is only accepted to a certain degree on account of oily substances contained in the wood.