Cephalotaxus harringtonia var. drupacea

  • BOTANICAL NAME: Cephalotaxus harringtonia
  • PRONUNCIATION: (cef-a-low-TAX-us  hair-ing-TONE-e-a  drew-PACE-ce-uh)
  • COMMON NAME: Japanese Plum Yew
  • FAMILY: Cephalotaxaceae (Yew Family), also Taxaceae
  • NATIVITY: Japan and Korea.
  • GROWTH HABIT: Spreading shrub slightly smaller than the species, possibly broader than tall.
  • SIZE: 15’ to 25’ tall.
  • HARDINESS: Zone 6 to 9.
  • CULTURE: Can be grown in partial shade to full sun. Prefers moist, well-drained soils. Plants show considerable heat and drought tolerance. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael Dirr recommends it as a substitute plant for yew in southern gardens. Seems to tolerate pruning and shearing.
  • LANDSCAPE USE: Possibly some specimen use, but typically used in groups and mass plantings.  This plant grows slowly and could be used in smaller areas than indicated by its mature size.
  • FOLIAGE: Spirally arranged foliage held in two planes that form a distinct v-groove on the upper surface of the branch. Leaves  are ¾” - 1¾” long, with pointed apex and two gray bands beneath. Leaves may be slightly sickle-shaped.
  • BARK: Gray and exfoliating into strips.
  • CONE: Seed is oval in shape and 1 to 1¼” long and brown at maturity.
  • PROPAGATION: Seeds, cuttings (root slowly).
  • PESTS: None serious.
    • ‘Duke Gardens’: 2’ to 3’ tall by 3’ to 4’ wide.
    • 'Prostrata’: low spreading plant, only 2’ to 3’ tall.


University of Delaware

University of Delaware Botanic GardensNewark, DE 19716Phone: 302 831-0153