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21 February 2019   
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Poisonous Plants A-Z


YEW – Tree of the Old World and North America having flattened needle like leaves. This tree regenerates and will grow again after being chopped down. It sheds the needles and branches into the grass. Sometimes it is found in hedging and must be fenced away from any livestock.

Probably the most common form of plant poisoning in the UK. All parts of the tree are poisonous, the alkaloid taxine is the active principle (depresses the heart), and occurs in the leaves of all species, but only in a small proportion of the berries. Animals will eat yew at any time and poisoning usually occurs from horses straying into the woods or from overhanging branches or from pieces growing in hedging.

The symptoms if observed are trembling, difficult breathing and collapse, and death may ensue within 5 minutes. Often there are no symptoms and the horse is found dead.

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