Commemorative Millennial Native Pacific Yews
Special Trees – Out of Business
I operated Special Trees as a business from 1980 through 2001, at which point I had sold and donated the last of the native yew tree saplings that I had cultivated. This image is the ad I placed in the Oregonian newspaper on January 1, 2000.
When I started PilzWald in 2002, I provided archival information about Native Pacific Yews and Taxol© on my previous web site until 2016. This page provides most of that information along with a few additional items.
Here is a PDF snapshot of the old web page.
The Native Yew Conservation Council (NYCC)
Conserving Native Yews Through Sustainable Taxol Production
The NYCC was a nonprofit organization operating in the early 1990s. It advocated for the conservation of ancient native yews (especially on Federal lands in the Pacific Northwest) by supporting ideas for development of sustainable sources of Taxol© production.
Here is a sample newsletter of the “Taxofile” from June 1, 1993.
Here is NYCC’s input to the USDA Forest Service Environmental Impact Statement on yew bark harvesting.
Books about native yews (not just in the US) and the story of Taxol© development.
Hartzell, Hal. and Rust, Jerry. Illustr. Rust, Sydney. 1983. Yew. Eugene, OR. 164 p. (Cover on left. No longer in print. eBay?)
Hartzell, Hal Jr. 1991. The yew tree: A thousand whispers: Biography of a species. Eugene, OR: Hulogosi Books. 319 pp.
Chetan, A. and Brueton, D. 1994. The sacred yew: Rediscovering the ancient Tree of Life through the work of Allen Meredith. New York, NY: Arkana. Penguin Books. 304 pp.
Goodman, J. and Walsh, V. 2001. The story of Taxol: Nature and politics in the pursuit of an anti-cancer drug. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 282 pp.
Hageneder, F. 2007. Yew: A history. Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing. 320 pp.
“The Yew Tree” by the Battlefield Band
My favorite song about yew trees.
The famous Scottish folk ensemble, the Battlefield Band, first released this song on their album “Anthem For The Common Man” in 1984. From the millenial-long perspective of a yew tree, it relates how the common folk are repeatedly manipulated by calls to war, exploited by wealthy landowners and coerced by stark theological dogmas.
Read the lyrics.
Either the album or just the song may be purchased on iTunes. Amazon offers CDs and Vinyl copies. YouTube likely has performances.
Propagation of Pacific Yews from Seed
A lessons-learned article for the American Conifer Society Bulletin
I spent over a decade collecting, cleaning, stratifying, germinating, and growing native Pacific yews from my wild seed collections. This article in the Winter and Spring issues of the 1996 American Conifer Society Bulletin summarizes much of what I learned.
Millennial Yew Regeneration Exam At Shotpouch Creek
A Trillium Project of the Spring Creek Project
One of the individuals who planted many of my native yew saplings was the late Franz Dolp, one of the co-founders of the Spring Creek Project at Oregon State University. He planted the yews in a forest surrounding Shotpouch Cabin, a retreat in the Oregon Coast Range for writers and creative endeavors.
The annual Trillium Project at Shotpouch Cabin is an opportunity for short-term residencies to pursue projects. In 2008 I visited to conduct a survey of how the yews were doing and to reflect on the implications of “managing” trees that can live thousands of years.
Here is my report: Millennial Yew Regeneration Exam at Shotpouch Creek
Native Pacific Yews At The Oregon Country Fair
Ancient and newly planted
The property of the Oregon Country Fair, nestled on the banks of the Long Tom River west of Veneta, Oregon, has many large native Pacific yew trees. Fair-goers, entertainers, vendors and the VegManEc crew all venerate these ancient beings.
Some have died and fallen since the fair’s inception, so along with friends, we gathered March 1, 1998 to plant seven of my yew saplings at various locations along the paths.
The planted yew shown on the left is located northeast of the History Booth at the junction of Despain and Leslie Lanes just a little ways in from Dragon Admissions. OCF Map.