Taxus cuspidata 'Amersfoort'

Leaf shape that is unusual for Taxus, with short, oval, flattened needles. This attractive, slow-growing shrub is dark green and has stiff, outward-spreading branches. A fine addition to the collector's garden.

Close-up of foliage
Photo by Tom Porlick
Close-up of foliage
Photo by Bill Barger
Taxus baccata 'Amersfoort' The Harper Collection of Dwarf & Rare Conifers located at Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, MI. Photo taken August of 2005.
Photo by Dax Herbst


Dennis Groh

Hi David. I have a little nomenclature challenge for you if you are up for it?

In recent e-mail correspondence with Gary Whittenbaugh (whose garden is in northern Iowa) I got the following message.

<em>Taxua baccata</em> 'Amersfoort' Now here is a conifer whose foliage doesn’t even look like conifer foliage and I am not sure what it resembles. It is sold as an English yew and <em>baccata </em>is what you will find on the tag. English yew are not hardy in my area. At least I killed many before I decided they won’t work here. So when we first saw this plant, I told people it likely wasn’t hardy in Iowa. Most all listened to me except my brother Tom, who never listens to me, and he bought one. I planted it and it is doing very nicely. Bob Fincham, on one of his visits to our garden, told me the reason it is growing here, when all the others I tried died. He said it is a <em>cuspidata</em> not a <em>baccata</em> . An ‘Amersfoort’ had a reversion and THE EXPERTS decided it was a <em>cuspidate. </em>Lesson: if something in your garden is behaving strangely it may not be what you thought.

There is a similar comment in the new Encyclopedia of Conifers page 1311. Any way we can get to the bottom of this nomenclature issue? Thanks. Dennis Groh.

David Olszyk

There is no question that 'Amersfoort' is a selection of Taxus cuspidata. I am aware of the field study done with recurrent growth. Thanks, Dennis.