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Y is for...

... Yew Tree (Taxus baccata)


The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?
---Edgar Allan Poe



The Baby


Cemetery Yew
The Yew tree fits in the morbid/macabre ranks for a couple of reasons. First off, it's toxic. Most parts of the plant are deadly, but most deadly is the foliage--- especially if the foliage has been dried, this increases its lethal potency.

Yew Chapel
Secondly, the Yew is often connected with cemeteries. In fact, it's often planted in cemeteries throughout Europe and many older Yew trees have had their trunks carved out to open the tree up as a chapel in the cemetery. It isn't exactly known if the connection of Yew trees to cemeteries arose from the trees naturally long life or because its toxicity made it a symbol of death. Regardless, there are probably very few European cemeteries that don't have at least one Yew tree.

It's hard, though, to treat the Yew as an emblem of death when it is so long-living and always green. In fact, in places where a Yew branch has grown down to the ground, the branch will often take root again-- making this tree a much better symbol for immortality than death...



Comments

  1. I had no idea Yew trees were so big, nor that their leaves were deadly. Y is for Yew and Yikes! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting to have a long-lived tree so closely associated with a place for the dead. Symbolism for belief in the afterlife?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Possibly a symbol for afterlife, or everlasting life, since it is able to root itself from a lowered branch--- which is definitely pretty cool.

      Delete
  3. That is the most epic thing I have ever read.

    ReplyDelete

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