Among the woody species growing
outside of cultivation in Wisconsin, Taxus canadensis
can be recognized by the shrubby growth form and the singly-attached,
strongly flattened leaves with sharp tips. Like Abies
and Tsuga the needles are attached all around the
twigs in spirals, but they are bent around so that they
appear to be mostly in a single plane, extending laterally
to either side of the twig, but not from the top or bottom.
The female cones are highly modified red, fleshy, berry-like
structures. The only similar species is T. cuspidata,
but it has broader leaves and is strictly horticultural.
Taxus canadensis is a northern species,
the main portion of its distribution ranging from northern
Minnesota to Newfoundland and south to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
In Wisconsin it is most common in the north, but it is also
found locally in the southwest and at scattered locations
in the east. Taxus canadensis has declined dramatically
in Wisconsin, due apparently in large part to overbrowsing