Evergreen Shrubs under 4 ft.

Landscape Significance

It is native to Japan, Korea and eastern China, where it grows in the forest understory.

Japanese plum yew tolerates severe pruning.  It makes a good clipped hedge or border in a semi-shady or even shady area. The dark green foliage contrasts well with many other landscape


Prostrate Plum Yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia)
This photo was taken at Trident Technical College, N. Charleston, SC.

This low, spreading plant with fern-like folliage has arching, pendulous branches that arch up and out.

The 'Prostrata' cultivar forms a low mound growing to about 2 ft tall with a spread of 4-5 ft. The plum yews are slow growers, some taking as long as 10 years to reach their mature height. They grow best in sandy, slightly acidic soils in part sun to dense shade. This plant is both cold and drought tolerant.

It is also more tolerant of heat than the true yews and more tolerant of shade than almost any needle evergreen. Deer don't eat it and it is usually not affected by pests. Soil nematodes can be a problem and the plant is susceptible to mushroom root rot.

Identifying characteristics

Flat, needle-like dark green leaves are arranged alternately in two ranks on the green twigs.  The leaves are less than 2" long.