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Harry Potter Wiki

Yew (genus Taxus) is a genus of small coniferous trees or shrubs in the yew family Taxaceae. All parts of the tree are poisonous.[5]

A yew tree stood in the Little Hangleton graveyard,[1] where Lord Voldemort was resurrected. Yew trees were also known to grow in the Forbidden Forest, where Harry was first formally introduced to Thestrals, seeing them "between two gnarled yew trees" during one of Rubeus Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures lessons.[2] One of the Forbidden Forest's yew trees had been turned into a stump and scorched by fire, presumably by one of the forest's magical creatures.[6]


According to Garrick Ollivander, yew wands were among the rarer kinds, and their ideal matches were likewise unusual, and occasionally notorious. The wand of yew was reputed to endow its possessor with the power of life and death, which might, of course, be said of all wands; and yet yew retained a particularly dark and fearsome reputation in the spheres of duelling and all curses.[4]

However, it is untrue to say (as those unlearned in wandlore often did) that those who used yew wands were more likely to be attracted to the Dark Arts than another. The witch or wizard best suited to a yew wand might equally have proven a fierce protector of others.[4]

Wands hewn from these most long-lived trees had been found in the possession of heroes quite as often as of villains. Where wizards had been buried with wands of yew, the wand generally sprouted into a tree guarding the dead owner's grave. What is certain is that the yew wand never chose either a mediocre or a timid owner.[4]

Known yew wand owners[]

Behind the scenes[]

  • J. K. Rowling also discussed this wand wood on her original website, commenting that "Yew, which can achieve astonishing longevity (there are British yew trees over two thousand years old), can symbolise both death and resurrection; the sap is also poisonous."[3]
  • The term "Yew" originally refers to a tree species found throughout Britain and Europe, and certain regions of Africa and Asia, that was subsequently reclassified as Taxus baccata (also known as English Yew or European Yew), as other Yew species were discovered in the New World (Canada and the Americas) and other parts of Asia and Africa.
  • Interestingly, yew shares many characteristics with holly, the tree which supplied the wood for Harry Potter's wand, which became the "twin" of Tom Riddle's wand.
    • Holly is also toxic (albeit not to the same degree as yew);
    • Both trees occupy the understorey of the forest canopy;
    • Both trees have spiritual significance in several cultures, from Europe to Asia, signifying longevity and rebirth.
  • Both Harry's mortal enemy and his wife were chosen by yew wands, illustrating how the yew wand is not necessarily attracted to darker wizards or witches, but rather simply powerful and fierce ones.


Notes and references[]