‘Yew Swirl’

Oil on Canvas 12″ X 12″

Chancing upon a Yew tree in the forest is always an enchanted moment.

They are wild, straggly, unsymmetrical trees with branches shooting off in unexpected directions;
and with many dead branches or even trunks, as if they originally thought to grow in one direction but at
some point changed their mind.

New trunks can grow out of old seemingly dead wood.

There is an ancient feeling of struggle and prevail about them.


Sacred to the Celtic peoples they were revered for connecting life, death and rebirth with powerful magic.
Their wood is very dense and has been highly treasured by all ancient peoples for the making of tools, especially bows and wands.

It has been found to hold potent cancer-fighting properties. The needles are a rich deep green, but I came upon this one on an early Autumn day just as the sun was shining through its branches creating this bright yellow/green swirl of branches. And, lo and behold, it had berries!  Very rare in my forest. I felt gifted.


The Western Yew (Taxus brevifolia) is an evergreen shrub or small tree. It is a conifer but produces red berry-like fruit (poisonous), rather than cones.  The bark is a smooth deep rose/red with dark purple scales. It is an ancient tree, having survived the last Ice Age.


~Barbara Brown, from Volume I, SYLVAN REFLECTIONS, Wanderings, Paintings & Ponderings From the Forest, Page 49