Population of yew tree Taxus baccata L. in Latvia
Keywords: Taxus baccata, Latvia, distribution, conservation, propagation
AbstractCommon yew (Taxus baccata L.) is a rare and endangered species included in Red Data Book of Latvia. The species grows on the eastern edge of its distribution area. It is mainly found in the SW parts of Kurland near the Baltic Sea coast and the Gulf of Riga (in some localities). Most yew are understory plants and grow well in the shade in a climatic zone with soft winters and cool summers. As this conifer has high landscape value and is relict since atlantic times it needs protection. In Kurland restricted area “Rucavas īvju audze” (“Yew grove of Rucava”) was established which is situated in the SW of the maritime territory in the Bārtavas lowland – 206 ha area. The biggest common yew tree (14 m) grows in park Zentene (in the district of Tukums). It is an open question whether artificial propagation of naturally growing plants in situ with consequent re-cultivation in situ could be considered a natural process of the species preservation. This paper also presents a collection of yew taxa which have been planted in the Arboretum of Rucava in the period of 15 years.