Garden

Tasso - Taxus baccata


GeneralitŠ°


Very long-lived evergreen conifer native to Europe and the countries bordering the Mediterranean. Its growth is quite slow and the adult specimens can reach twenty meters in height; the bark is reddish brown, becomes gray with time and tends to flake off. Leaves small, narrow, shiny and dark green on the upper side, light green on the lower side; the crown is roundish, very dense. The female specimens in summer produce roundish seeds covered with red flesh, very showy and decorative. The badgers are widely used for topiary art, since they bear even drastic prunings and the dense foliage also grows on the inside of the foliage. There are cultivars with variegated or completely yellow leaves, usually with smaller and more compact growth. The fruits and leaves of badgers are highly toxic.

Exposure


These plants prefer sunny places, but they grow without problems even in partial shade and tolerate even the complete shadow very well. It does not fear pollution and strong coastal winds. The badger is widely used as a hedge plant, although the ancient specimens still present in Europe are solitary.
This conifer lives well both in full sun and in the shade. Indeed, it tolerates the lack of light quite well: it can survive up to 10 years (the maximum life of its needle) in really penalizing light conditions, limiting itself to stopping its growth. However, in order to have a tree in full form it is necessary to guarantee at least a half-shade of light.
If the environment is unfavorable and too dark, the plant will barely reach 50 cm and will take on a much wider shape. However, even in the best conditions, it is necessary to wait at least 10 or 20 years before obtaining a decent sized specimen. From that moment the average annual growth will be around 20 cm. The culmination of the growth occurs when the specimen reaches a height of 10 meters, even if the growth of the trunk will continue for a long time and, with time, it may even reach 20 meters with a trunk diameter of about 1 meter.
It is a plant that is not very competitive due to its slow growth. Its resistance, however, is considerably increased thanks to its ability to tolerate shadow and adverse conditions.

The rate



The taxus It is a conifer belonging to the Taxaceae family. Its Latin name is Tassus baccata. It is endemic to south-western Asia and northern Africa, in particular to all those areas characterized by calcareous substrate.
It is a tree that can reach 20 meters in height, with persistent leaves, whose crown, when mature, takes on a wide cone shape.
The leaves are linear, about 3 cm long, with pointed apex, dark green in the apical part, with two paler strips at the base, arranged in two rows on the two sides of the branch.
The bark is purple-brown and smooth, but with time it tends to flake off.
The flowers are small. The males are pale yellow in bunches, at the leaf axil and at the base of the branch. Females are single and placed at the apex. They are found on separate plants, being a dioecious plant.
The fruits, only on female individuals, carry a single seed, enclosed in a fleshy aril and are red, about 1 cm long. At the apex there is an opening from which the green seed can be seen.













































Family and gender
Taxaceae, gen tassus baccata
Type of plant Tree, conifer, evergreen, up to 15 m, slow growth
Exposure Sun, half-shade, shadow
Rustic rustic
Ground Rich in humus, possibly calcareous
colors White flowers, orange fruits
Irrigation Fresh and moist, it tolerates drought well
Composting Not necessary
Propagation Seeds, cutting
Purposes Isolated specimen, formal hedge, ground cover for some varieties
Pruning Wait for it to reach the desired size. Also rejected by the collar in case of drastic cuts

Ground



It does not need particular precautions with regard to the soil in which it is to be planted, even if it prefers well-drained soils to damp ones. It does not fear drought, therefore it does not need additional watering besides the rain water. At the end of winter, bury a mature organic fertilizer at the base of the plant. For a more vigorous growth it is advisable to prune sparingly and to regularly remove basal suckers that develop easily at the expense of the mother plant.

Multiplication



It occurs mainly by seed, in autumn; place the seeds in a mixture consisting of sand and peat in equal parts, which must be kept moist until the seeds are completely germinated, in a cold greenhouse. The plants should be grown in pots for at least two years before being planted, preferably in spring. You can also practice cuttings, or use basal suckers to make new plants.
The propagation mechanism through the seeds allows the rate to quickly colonize suitable environments.
Light pollen is littered by the wind: male individuals produce large amounts of it each year, which are transported even very far. Under favorable conditions fruiting occurs abundantly every year and the fruits are ripe already in August. Dissemination is ensured by animals, in particular birds and mammals. Everyone swallows the fruit and then expels the seed intact.
Germination occurs after two years, in the spring. To get out of dormancy, in fact, a period of strong heat is needed followed by about 4 months of cold.
Vegetative reproduction is not difficult either. In fact, the tree is endowed with a large number of dormant sins located in the lower part of the trunk. If it is cut, the plant can easily reject the shrubby form most of the time. Its regenerative power is enormous.
It is also very easy to reproduce it by cutting, since rooting from buds is easy and quite rapid.

Pests and diseases


This plant is very rustic and is usually not attacked by pests or diseases.

Rate features



Sometimes the taxus it can be confused with some ease with pines or firs, paying attention to it, but we realize that its bark is practically unmistakable, with its gray-brown or reddish color which is divided into small scales, fine and irregular.
The habit is also quite characteristic. The branching is determined by the strong dominance of the apical bud. This gives the taxus the typical conifer habit. Along with trees with a single or multiple trunk there are also shrub forms.
The leaves, unlike the firs, are pointed and do not give off any balsamic fragrance.
As we have said, it is a dioecious plant, although the females do not carry cones, but false fruits. After the spring bloom a ring is formed on the axis of the flower which progressively incorporates the seed. When this is ripe, in autumn, the pulp will turn bright red. This part is the only one that is not toxic. Ruminants are capable of digesting the leaves which are extremely toxic and fatal to humans and many other animals.

Use in the yew garden



The badger is one of the best essences for the realization of formal hedges and for topiary art. It can serve as a background or as a primary point of interest.
In the early years it assumes a pyramidal shape, later it becomes more rounded. The branches, well branched, give it a dense appearance. It also has the great advantage, compared to other conifers, of not undressing in the lower part.
This tree is very interesting because it can be tamed and put into shape very easily. You can create small hedges or cut wave tops, like in classic English gardens.
It fits incredibly well where growth conditions are not optimal: it grows even in the shade of other trees, of buildings or in medium containers on the balconies. It bears pollution, cold currents, poor soils and is very rustic, healthy and long-lived. The only drawback is that you have to give it time to grow. This on the other hand will free us from the burden of frequent pruning.

Pruning the badger



Before proceeding with pruning, wait until it reaches the desired height. Above all we avoid cutting off the tip because this would further slow down the growth process.
The badger does not particularly suffer the cut near the roots because it always retains the ability to reject new shoots, even from old wood.
The ideal, for hedges, is to give a flared shape downwards so that all the specimen can receive light adequately.

Interesting varieties


The genus has about 12 species and various cultivars. Among the interesting ones for the garden we point out:
- The tassus baccata fastigiata also called badger of Ireland, with columnar habit, suitable as an isolated specimen
- Tassus baccata semperaurea with golden nuances, beautiful for making hedges
- Tassus baccata repandens to be used as a ground cover, as it widens a lot and does not exceed 50 cm.

Rate propagation



The propagation mechanism through the seeds allows the rate to quickly colonize suitable environments.
Light pollen is littered by the wind: male individuals produce large amounts of it each year, which are transported even very far. Under favorable conditions fruiting occurs abundantly every year and the fruits are ripe already in August. Dissemination is ensured by animals, in particular birds and mammals. Everyone swallows the fruit and then expels the seed intact.
Germination occurs after two years, in the spring. To get out of dormancy, in fact, a period of strong heat is needed followed by about 4 months of cold.
Vegetative reproduction is not difficult either. In fact, the tree is endowed with a large number of dormant sins located in the lower part of the trunk. If it is cut, the plant can easily reject the shrubby form most of the time. Its regenerative power is enormous.
It is also very easy to reproduce it by cutting, since rooting from buds is easy and quite rapid.

Growth and life


The yew is a very slow growing tree, even from the early years. The maximum speed is reached between 7 and 15, then slowly slows down to 60 years. The maximum height can only be reached by individuals who have lived at least 200 years.
longevity
according to some studies these conifers can reach even 5000 years of life
Roots
the roots of the yew develop from a powerful primary taprooting root that then forms a collated system. This is at the base of its good anchorage and of a superficial rooting that allows it to colonize and stabilize even the poorest and driest soils.

Pedoclimatic requirements


Thanks to its resistance to drought the badger can colonize very dry areas. It resists optimally if, even in the absence of water in the subsoil, there is a discrete environmental humidity. The ideal is however that there are at least 1000 mm of rain per year or periods in which snow or fog are abundant during the winter. It is a rather cold-resistant plant. It is capable of withstanding persistent frosts below -23 ° C without serious damage. Even late frosts are rarely a problem.

Geographical and areal distribution



It grows spontaneously from the plain up to 1100 meters above sea level. In areas where there are frequent hot winds it is possible to find this essence even up to 1800 m.
The original distribution area is very restricted due to human influence. Today it is present only in very few central and eastern areas of the European continent, where there is an ideal oceanic climate with mild winters. The distribution areas are very small and spaced apart due to the intense exploitation of past centuries, particularly in the Middle Ages.
The only populations of a certain importance are present in the Carpathian area, in the Balkans, in Turkey and in the Northern slope of the Alps.
In many countries there are intense programs of reforestation and preservation of secular specimens or groups.

Uses of yew wood



Yew wood has always been considered a precious wood since intimacy. It was used in particular for the production of weapons. It is perfect for bows and crossbows; in fact its name derives from the Greek Taxus which means arrow.
It is a very hard wood, but at the same time elastic and extremely durable, totally free of resin. It was already used by hunters of the stone age to make spears and later to make many types of tools. Even today, this wood is used for making work tools.

Tasso - Taxus baccata: Stories and legends of the rate


The badger, already venerated by the Celts, has maintained up to our days its mythological significance of the tree of the dead, due to its strong toxicity, but also tree of life, because it led to the eternal one. We know its important role in the context of megalithic sites.
A great deal of European toponymy (and many proper names) certainly refer to this tree. Taxol has also been the subject of important research and is synthesized today as an active agent against some types of tumors. In ancient times it was used as an abortifacient.
  • Tree rate



    The badger, common name for taxus baccata, belonging to the Taxaceae family, is an original evergreen conifer

    visit: tree rate
  • Taxus



    Taxus is an evergreen conifer native to areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It belongs to the family

    visit: taxus
  • Tree rate



    The Yew (Taxus baccata) is an evergreen conifer belonging to the Taxaceae family. It takes the tree form or

    visit: yew tree