Yew Tree - 'Taxus baccata'

Yew Tree - Taxus baccata

In Germany, yew boughs have long been brought inside and decorated at Christmas time alongside pines and firs. Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III, is often credited with bringing this tradition from her German homeland to the English court, installing the first decorated yew tree at Windsor Castle in 1800.

According to Queen Charlotte’s biography, the tree was intended as a charming spectacle: “from the branches of which hung bunches of sweatmeets, almonds and raisins in papers, fruits and toys, most tastefully arranged”.

Decorated Christmas trees were soon all the range among English high society. In December 1840, Prince Albert famously imported several spruce firs from his native Germany. And the tradition has grown in popularity ever since.

While pines and firs remain top choices for Christmas trees, the yew and scots pine are among the few varieties native to Britain.