Taxus cuspidata is strictly
a cultivated species in Wisconsin. It does not escape
from cultivation and is found only where it has been planted.
It is included in the list of gymnosperms because it is
a very common horticultural species in Wisconsin and because
it (along with Pinus nigra, Pseudotsuga menziesii
and Picea pungens) is a useful addition to the small
list of native species of gymnosperms, for teaching purposes.
It is a shrub with singly-attached needles that are strongly
flattened, sharp-pointed and arranged mostly in one plane.
It has slightly wider leaves than the very similar Taxus
canadensis, which is a native species of mostly northern
habitats and is seldom or never cultivated.
Taxus cuspidata is widely
planted, mostly as a yard tree in urban settings where it
is often used in a hedge-like form around houses. In its
natural setting (east Asia) it can be tree sized, but the
numerous cultivars are mostly shrubby. The red berry-like
cones are very conspicuous and may persist on the branches
well into winter.