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Yew pine

Podocarpus macrophyllus


Please note:

For most situations, we would not recommend installing this plant in new gardens, landscapes, or plantings in southern California.

Our top recommendations to consider instead of this plant, particularly for large hedges or screening include toyon and Catalina cherry.

This plant profile is included in this site as a reference for two primary reasons:

  1. If you already have this plant in your landscape, this information can be used to know how to care for it.
  2. If you already have this plant in your landscape, you can use this information to learn which of our recommended plants have the same recommended watering needs, making them potential choices for grouping together if you will be adding new plants to the existing area.

In general, instead of this plant, we recommend planting appropriate California native plants whenever possible.

In addition to their beauty, California native plants offer the most additional benefits beyond just low water use, including habitat for the birds, butterflies, and pollinators who evolved here with them. This adds value and beauty in your landscape beyond just a pretty plant, allowing the landscape to actively contribute to the environment instead of just using less water. You can find our top recommended native plant choices on our Plant Finder by selecting “California Native” and learn more about California native plants here.

To learn what exactly California native plants are and how they are different from other low water plants, visit this link.

For visual interest or other reasons, some people may also want to mix in other non-native low-water demanding plant choices even though they do not have the same ecological value as native plants. For that reason, we feature a number of non-native waterwise selections on this site as well. However, we see native plants as the best “go to” for most landscape or garden choices! We encourage people to consider planting at least 50% of their landscape to native plants. See our Garden Designs section or visit our Waterwise Demonstration Garden in Montclair for plenty of inspiration.


The Yew pine is an evergreen tree growing with an upright and spiraling branching habit that can eventually reach 25-50 ft. tall, 15-20 ft. wide. It has dark green linear leaves, 1/2 in. wide, 3-4 in. long. In contrast to its natural growth habit, the Yew pine is commonly clipped into tall and narrow shapes for formal uses along colonnades and for tall perimeter screens.

Yew pine is adaptable to many planting conditions and is a common plant in commercial landscapes throughout the Inland Empire. It is native to temperate climate zones of China and Japan, and is naturally suited to areas with cool and moist winters and warm summers. It does best in well-drained loam soils with regular moisture, and in sunny or semi-shaded exposures.

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Dense, Arching, Upright, Narrow, Low-branching
Growth Rate: Moderate
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Insignificant
Flower Season: Spring, Insignificant
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Loam
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, Heat, All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Hedge, Screening, Residential spaces, Parks and open space, Foundations, Foliage accent plant, Espalier, Commercial spaces, Civic spaces, Background plant
Height: 25 ft. – 50 ft.
Width: 15 ft. – 20 ft.

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