Yew Taxus baccata
The outcast tree of death: The yew tree must have held the highest prestige in the eyes of the Celts after the oak. The druids always stress every Celt came from the god of death. Once the Romans systematically wiped out the druids belief in reincarnation slowly disappeared along with their culture. The dark and gloomy yew forest which the Romans would hardly enter were cut down and cleared away. They were replaced with fast growing spruces, only birth was regarded as a happy event and death was given a bad press which it did not deserve.
Nowadays this tree is incapable of forming woods without human help due to it not being a self-fertile tree. It may be a conifer but it needs requires a neighbour of the opposite sex in order to set seed, being a slow growing tree also makes it difficult. The bumpy gnarled trunk is barely visible due to the fact it envelops itself from the ground upwards dark green branches. It responds to shaping well and can be trained into whatever shape the gardener wants, unlike it’s conifer cousins it can regrow from old or damaged wood giving rise to the eternal youth myth to the tree. The yew produces little red berries not cones the soft, sweet flesh is edible but the seed inside is poisonous to warm-blooded animals. The needles can also be dangerous to horse, donkeys and cows but deer and wild boar can eat the twigs with out coming to any harm.
Gem stone: The white opal, which brings reconciliation with mortality.