The world is home to all kinds of flora and fauna, home to startlingly diverse climates and environments, in which many species of trees have battled the elements and man to survive and thrive.
This article will delve into the details of some of the incredible flora that starts with Y.
We will look at trees that live in all kinds of habitats and climates, from dusty deserts to the glorious Himalayas.
Many of these trees face a fight for survival, combating natural and man-made threats to their existence. We will look at the tree’s appearance, natural habitat, and whether it bears any edible delights for man or beast.
We will look at the people and cultures of the areas in which the trees grow.
Examining if the trees have cultural or spiritual significance, and which trees provide sustenance and materials for traditional or modern arts, crafts, and construction.
So read on to gain an insight into some Trees That Start With Y, as we take you on an expedition across the globe!
Himalayan Yew (Taxus Walliciana)
An endangered species of yew tree that is native to the Himalayas and some sections of south-east Asia.
It thrives in a variety of environments, including high above sea level in the cold and down the mountain ranges to the tropical sub-montane.
Growing to 10 m in height, this evergreen coniferous tree produces vivid green leaves that lose their vibrancy over time and fade to brown.
The tree is used medicinally in both Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine, earning it strong significance and respect amongst the local population.
It was even used in the development of anticancer drugs. People also brew tea using the bark and use the wood as firewood to keep warm in the chilled climate.
Giant Spanish Dagger (Yucca Carnerosana)
A member of the asparagus family and native to North America, this tree is sturdy, tough, and can survive in various environments.
There has been some success in cultivating it away from its natural habitat, with success in the western USA, throughout northern Mexico, and in some areas of Southern Europe.
It grows up to six meters tall and is topped with white flowers that resemble drops of snow.
Yuzuri-Ha (Daphniphyllum Macropodum)
A small tree that can be found across Japan, Korea, and China. Usually, it grows up to ten meters in height, though it has been known to reach heights of up to twenty meters in the right environment.
Dense spirals of long green leaves are displayed on reddish branches, though the branches fade to gray as they age.
This tree serves multiple purposes for those that grow it, including the timber being commonly used for making furniture and in larger-scale construction. It is also a popular species for use as an ornamental plant in homes and gardens.
The Ainu indigenous people of Japan and Siberia are known to dry the leaves and then smoke them.
The name Chinese Yew is given to and associated with three different species of yew. Although there is some dispute as to the ‘true’ Chinese Yew, each of the below is generally granted the name.
- Taxus Sumatrana
- Taxus Chinensis
- Taxus Celebica
Also known as the Taiwan Yew, it can be found across Asia and the Middle East, from Afghanistan to Taiwan.
Growing in varied conditions from subtropical forests to high up above sea levels, this tree is a protected species in Taiwan, and it serves several uses.
They are used in the crafting of furniture, bows are made for hunting and even footwear in the form of clogs is made from them!
Oil is mixed with the bark from the tree to make the red paste used on the foreheads of the Brahmin, giving it a spiritual significance.
This tree is under the protection of several national and international laws due to its common use and incredible value in the medicinal field.
An important tree in the fight against cancer, as it is used to produce the chemotherapy drug Paclitaxel, also known as Taxol.
Growing at elevations up to nine-hundred meters, this species is also used in the production of the cancer medication Taxol.
The bark and needles contain the needed compounds to synthesize the medicine.
Unfortunately, due to their increasing value, they continue to be harvested at an unsustainable rate, despite laws being in place to protect them.
Beaked Yucca (Yucca Rostrata)
A species native to Texas, Coahuila, and Chihuahua, it is increasingly popular as an ornamental feature due to its captivating appearance.
The thick and sturdy trunk grows to almost five meters tall and is topped with a crown of thin leaves and white flowers. The species has been successfully cultivated in Mexico and the US in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Denver, Colorado.
Yellow Wood (Zanthoxylum Americanum)
Known as the toothache tree due to its medicinal properties and use by both Native Americans and early settlers to relieve discomfort.
Chewing on the leaves, bark, or twigs caused a numbing sensation in the mouth, hence its use as a toothache remedy.
Native to Canada and the central and eastern United States, it is also known as the common prickly-ash, common prickly ash, or northern prickly-ash.
It is protected in that its wood is not made commercially available, though it’s still used in some medicines due to its cytotoxic and antifungal properties.
This enables it to be used in the treatment of toothache and associated discomfort, as well as joint pain, combatting fevers and reducing the severity of circulatory issues.
Japanese Yew (Taxus Cuspidata)
Also known as the spreading yew, this member of the genus Taxus is native to Japan, Korea, southeast Russia, and northeast China.
Growing up to eighteen meters tall, this evergreen tree is covered in small flat dark green leaves. A single seed develops into a bright-red aril that resembles a berry.
Some trees found in the Sikhote-Alin mountain range in Russia are believed to be over one thousand years old.
A native tree to central Mexico that is a member of the family Asparagaceae (asparagus family).
The large, tall tree is covered with large branches that grow straight up and out from the trunk, with bunches on the end of each stem shaped like rosettes.
It is used by the local indigenous people as a roof to shelter from the elements, and also as a source of fibers for handicrafts and traditional tools.
English Yew (Taxus Baccata)
The tree that was originally known as the Yew, though since more species have been discovered, it is typically known as the common yew or European yew.
It is native to the British Isles, as well as throughout western, central, and Southern Europe.
The yew tree is well known for its poisonous nature, as people and animals can fall victim to it via inhalation, digestion, or absorption through the skin.
As such, it’s essential to keep small children away from these trees, as even a small amount ingested could cause serious problems.
Often referred to as yucca cane, this member of the asparagus family is native to Mexico and Central America.
A popular species for use in ornamental gardens, courtyards, and kitchens, though it can grow up to twelve meters in height so not everyone will have sufficient space!
The flower is the national flower of El Salvador, where they call it ‘izote’.
As it is edible, it is widely used in Central American cuisine. In El Salvador, they eat the tips of the stems, in Guatemala, the flowers are boiled and eaten with lemon juice.
It is also cooked with onions, tomatoes, and chili and is often added to traditional dishes such as tortillas.
Yellow Poinciana (Peltrophorum Pterocarpum)
This tree goes by many names including copper pod, yellow flame tree, yellow-flame, and yellow-flamboyant.
The species is native to the tropical region of Southeast Asia and northern Australasia, though can be found across South Asia, including India.
It is a particularly popular choice for use as an ornamental feature.
A deciduous tree that usually grows to heights of twenty-five meters, though there have been occasions when it has reached up to fifty meters!
The tree is densely covered with long leaves, and it produces delightful yellow flowers.
Thank you for joining us on this penultimate leg of the A to Z of trees. A fascinating quest to learn more about just some of the Trees That Start With Y.
We have traveled throughout North, Central, and South America journeyed across Europe and into the furthest reaches of the Far East.
Did you recognize any of these species? Perhaps you saw one on holiday, or maybe there’s one growing in your garden?
Use this knowledge as a foundation to go forth and continue researching and learning about the incredibly diverse range of flora that grows on our planet.
Now we are approaching the final leg of our A to Z of trees, there’s only one left! We hope you will read on and finish your epic odyssey through the world of trees.