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Author Topic: YEW Trees  (Read 18472 times)

Odin

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • Huddersfield
YEW Trees
« on: April 17, 2012, 09:38:50 am »
Anyone out there with knowledge or experience with these trees ?

Apart from seeing the odd one around churches or ornamental gardens, they are not very common but certainly magnificent to look at. What has prompted me to this particular tree is that a local tree surgeon has given me a branch off one that he has recently 'worked on'. His remark was "burns better than coal lad"!
I cut off about 4 inch  and put it on my coal fire and it certainly burnt as long as the coal and gave off heat. The rest of the branch which is about 4 inch diameter, I have cut a few two inch sections and bored the centres out so they hold tea light candles for 'our lass' to sell in her shop. It is very attractive wood but extremely hard and difficult to work.
Having read a few passages in books, like the Observers Book of Trees, there is certainly a lot of history and folklore with the English Yew Tree. Just wondered what contributors to these pages had to say ?
Finally I have purchased some Yew Tree seeds off a lady and I am in the process of germinating them, and that is not straight forward either.
Regards   :farmer:
A man who cannot till the soil cannot till his own soul !
A son of the soil .

lillibeth

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2012, 09:54:51 am »
Yew is an extremely hard wood and is very slow growing. the grain is very tight. It is a fantastic wood to work if you have the patience (or the power tools!)   It can be sanded to a glass like finish and the colours come alive with a final, very fine sand. Watch out with your future seedlings though, as the whole tree is very poisonous and should only be grown away from livestock.  If you are a woodworker your local church warden is the person to talk to as the churchyard trees may (with luck) need pruning.  ;)

Hermit

  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 10:12:05 am »
Is it right that folk with yew trees sell the prunings/leaves to medical producers. It is an ingredient for cancer drugs ,is it not?

tizaala

  • Joined Mar 2011
  • Dolau, Llandrindod Wells,Powys
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2012, 11:26:55 am »
My old boss nearly died after eating mushroom that he'd picked from under a yew tree, the poison leaches into the soil from the needles. he was touch and go for a couple of weeks.

Bramblecot

  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2012, 10:42:23 pm »
Is it right that folk with yew trees sell the prunings/leaves to medical producers. It is an ingredient for cancer drugs ,is it not?
Yes, you are right.  They need clippings from 1 or 2 year old wood and quite a lot of it too - prunings from a hedge are easiest to collect.  I think the drug is tamoxifen.

lachlanandmarcus

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2012, 11:22:06 pm »
Even a leaf can be fatal to livestock so although I like yew I steer well well clear! I leave it to Agatha Christie murderers and cancer treatments! When we do endurance rides we have big warning tape tied to any yew trees on the route so that people know not to let their horse grab a mouthful as they pass.....

Remy

  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 09:49:28 pm »
Yew is one of the most fatal plants to horses, a matchbox full could kill one!  They are magnificent trees, but if you plan to keep livestock, be wary!
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep

Odin

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • Huddersfield
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2012, 06:08:15 am »
The stories that I have are;-
The oldest humane corpse found had a Yew tree spear in his possession.
A post of Yew will outlast a post of Iron.
Pagans worshipped the tree because it has the power to give both life and death, apparently the berrys are not poisonous whilst the green foliage is ?? That is one of the reasons why the Yew is grown in burial grounds or church grounds because animals are not generally grazed in these areas ??? (but not always)
If a church has a Yew tree, then there is a good chance that the site was Pagan before it became Christian.
In the middle ages the demand for Yew was so great, archery etc, that the Crown ordered many areas to grow Yew and churches again been a safe place from animals.
Many people in history ate the leaves (like nuns) as suicide rather than be raped or murdered.
I think I will plant one in my garden to keep dogs off from leaving their trade marks !   :pug:   :paw:
The oldest Yew in the Uk is in Scotland ? Reputedly 2000 year old.
The oldest Yew is in Spain at 3000 year old ?
A man who cannot till the soil cannot till his own soul !
A son of the soil .

deepinthewoods

  • Guest
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2012, 11:11:49 am »
the reason yew trees were grown in churchyards was to ensure a supply of timber for making the traditional longbows. ive worked yew before and its lovely.
its use as a bow is because the dark part is good in compression and the light wood is strong in extension so when making a bow you shape the yew so the dark is inside and the light outside.
i believe the berry is hallucinatory, and the whole tree gives of fumes that are also trippy!! most church trees were removed in the 70's and 80's due to health and safety but some still remain. there is a yew 'alley' on the estate here and i know of a couple of huge trees in herefordshire, one notable one at llandinabo church near ross (where my family is buried).

goosepimple

  • Joined May 2010
  • nr Lauder, Scottish Borders
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2012, 09:31:49 pm »
I read somewhere years ago that the roots of yew trees go so deep into the ground that they were supposed to feed new life into the dead and that's why they are in graveyards, a bit spooky. :o
registered soay, castlemilk moorit  and north ronaldsay sheep, pygmy goats, steinbacher geese, muscovy ducks, various hens, lots of visiting mallards, a naughty border collie, a puss and a couple of guinea pigs

Brijjy

  • Joined Sep 2010
  • Mid Wales
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2012, 09:41:11 pm »
I have an enormous yew tree in my back garden. Apparently it's very unlucky to cut them down but I reckon it's ok to prune them. The biggest problem with it is that it sheds leaves, berries and seeds at intervals throughout the year and it's a right pain sweeping them up all the time.
Silly Spangled Appenzellers, Dutch bantams, Lavender Araucanas, a turkey called Alistair, Muscovy ducks and Jimmy the Fell pony. No pig left in the freezer, we ate him all!

colliewoman

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Pilton
  • Caution! May spontaneously talk rabbits!
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2012, 09:48:45 pm »
Also according to Glastafarian folklore, It's where the druids got the idea for stone circles from.
If allowed to grow unchecked over many centuries, the limbs of yew will touch the floor and root, the inner tree begins to die away as the circle of new growth continues. This is repeated until there are a number of concentric rings and a never dying tree. They were sacred spaces and now almost impossible to find. I have so far in my life found the grand total of one tree that has been allowed to continue to grow like this.
Tis known as the tree of resurrection and I always smile when I see one in a churchyard. You can burn us, but you can't forget us ;)
We'll turn the dust to soil,
Turn the rust of hate back into passion.
It's not water into wine
But it's here, and it's happening.
Massive,
but passive.


Bring the peace back

deepinthewoods

  • Guest
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2012, 10:19:35 pm »
well thats rubbish cw, everyone knows druids got the ideas for stone circles by playing dominos. ;) :D

colliewoman

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Pilton
  • Caution! May spontaneously talk rabbits!
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2012, 04:42:53 pm »
But that's what they said in Glastonbury so it must be true :o :o :o :D :D ;D
We'll turn the dust to soil,
Turn the rust of hate back into passion.
It's not water into wine
But it's here, and it's happening.
Massive,
but passive.


Bring the peace back

woollyval

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: YEW Trees
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2012, 08:56:57 pm »
Is it right that folk with yew trees sell the prunings/leaves to medical producers. It is an ingredient for cancer drugs ,is it not?
Yes, you are right.  They need clippings from 1 or 2 year old wood and quite a lot of it too - prunings from a hedge are easiest to collect.  I think the drug is tamoxifen.

Nope its not tamoxifen as that is an anti oestrogen drug (I know lots about it as I am taking it!) Yew is used for a chemotherapy drug called Taxol (several sub kinds such as Docetaxol and Paclitaxol) it is a very effective chemo drug...and very toxic.....i have had that too!!!!
www.berry land cottage.co.uk
www.valgrainger.co.uk

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