The yew tree lives the longest of all of the trees of the Celtic Tree Ogham. They are often found in cemeteries, but may be far older than the cemetery itself. The Crowhurst Yew in Surrey is believed to be at least 1,600 years old. Research work by dendrochronologists indicates that some yew trees in British churchyards may be as ancient as four thousand years old!
This longevity is achieved through the style of growth. The yew's branches grow down into the ground to form new stems, which grow to become trunks of separate but linked growth. In time, the central trunk becomes old, but a new tree grows from within the decay, and is indistinguishable from the original growth. Thus the yew tree represents age, rebirth and reincarnation - the birth of a new soul which springs from ancient roots.
The average yew tree grows to fifty feet in height. It is an evergreen with dark green needles, light on the underside, and bears a bright red fruit containing a single seed. Female flowers are green and small, as contrasted to male flowers which appear on different trees and are slightly larger and yellow in color. The needles bark and sap are extremely poisonous and has no medicinal uses.
A Druid sacred tree. Sacred to the Winter Solstice and deities of death and rebirth. The Irish used it to make dagger handles and bows.