Landscape Report


Distinguishing Hemlock from Yew

It is easy to confuse Hemlock (Tsuga spp.) and Yew (Taxus spp.) unless you can see the overall plant habit or have them both side by side.  Further confusing them is that both species may be pruned into hedges or other shapes that obscure the natural plant habits.

Hemlock has short needles, 1/4 – 3/4″ long, green above and distinctly whitish silver below due to prominent white stomatal bands.  Cones are 1/2 – 1″ long, ovoid, and pendulous.

Yew has a slightly longer and wider needle -about 1/2 – 1 1/4″ long, dark green above and light green below, overall coarser texture compared to hemlock. Cones resemble berries, the brown seeds are covered by a fleshy red aril (seedcoat).

Share This Article
It is the policy of the Purdue University that all persons have equal opportunity and access to its educational programs, services, activities, and facilities without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, disability or status as a veteran. Purdue is an Affirmative Action Institution. This material may be available in alternative formats. 1-888-EXT-INFO Disclaimer: Reference to products in this publication is not intended to be an endorsement to the exclusion of others which may have similar uses. Any person using products listed in this publication assumes full responsibility for their use in accordance with current directions of the manufacturer.

Sign-up to receive email news and alerts from Purdue Landscape Working Group: