Taxus baccata - common yew, English yew

The yew is the longest-lived of all European conifers. It can achieve heights of 15-20m and the oldest individuals are estimated to be 1200-1500 years old. Yew trees have been highly respected and valued from pre-historic times, and the species is also regarded as a symbol of death, and of immortality. The wood itself, tough and durable, has been used in making lutes, and especially in the manufacture of longbows and crossbows. The war-filled history of Europe, with its demand for these weapons, lead to the almost total destruction of yew stands.

Thujopsis dolabrata - southern Japanese thujopsis

Southern Japanes thujopsis is the only species of the genus, which belongs to the Cypress family, the Cupressaceae. Its nearest relatives are the arborvitae (Thuja), the main difference being their round cones. The most obvious characteristic of the thujopsis, however, is the shiny, scaly, almost plastic surface of the foliage, which is emphasised by the greyish-white patterning on the under surface. The rather artificial appearance has made this a popular garden plant, which is in no way diminished by the slow growth and the dense, darkly evergreen foliage.