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Y is for Yew.....

A rather slow-growing evergreen, the Yew has been incorporated in many facets of human tradition since ancient times. It's been used for everything from ancient spears and longbows to medicine for cancer treatments and cardiac remedies. It's also been grown in churchyards and cemeteries for centuries-- even some of the chapels of Normandy have been found in hollowed out trunks of these ancient giants.

But, as revered as this plant is, it must also be handled with great care as all parts of the plant are considered toxic. Though, human fatalities are rare and usually only occur from ingesting a large amount of yew foliage, there have been reports of illness from handling the yew wood--- especially from woodturners crafting longbows or other pieces from the yew wood.

Superstitions abound surrounding this plant--- most having to do with the plant's ability to suck the life from an unsuspecting victim who reclines beneath the tree for shade. The planting of the tree in cemeteries is attributed to the belief that the yew is capable of drawing the poisons from the earth that are connected with the dead bodies buried beneath it.



Yew and Me

Protect us, oh great tree,
as we sleep beneath your shade.
Watch o'er us, mighty one,
where our souls are laid.

                                                                                   ---e.a.s. demers

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