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Forest Research home > Research > Forest management > Regeneration and sustainable silviculture > Seed and seedling biology > Tree seed storage and pretreatment

Seed storage and pretreatment for Taxus baccata

Common nameYew
Scientific nameTaxus baccata
Storage characteristicsOrthodox
Storage moisture content and temperature10-12% @ < 0C
Dormancy characteristicsDeep
Pretreatment method24 (20-52) weeks warm (c. 15C) plus
40 (32-52) weeks cold (c. 4C)
See pretreatment of deeply dormant species
Efficacy of pretreatment / remarksOnly partially effective even with the longest pretreatment durations and/or several pretreatment cycles (toxic)
Approximate date to initiate artificial pre-treatment (for 1 March sowing)6 December (-2 years)


Storage characteristics

Orthodox - seeds that can be dried without harm, and once dried can be frozen, stored for years with little deterioration and relatively easily revived.

Pre-treatment method

Figures in brackets indicate that different seedlots often require different pretreatment durations. There are three potential courses of action:

  • Adhere to the pretreatment duration in bold, with the knowledge that the maximum potential germination of the seedlot may be sacrificed for the sake of simplicity.
  • Inspect the pretreating seed regularly. Sow when c. 10% of seed is chitted, with the hope that this is indicative that the remaining seeds are now close to germination.
  • Inspect the pretreating seed regularly. At suitable intervals, remove chitted seeds (by hand, flotation, and/or sieving). Sow chitted seeds and return balance to pretreatment until no more seeds germinate.

Practice Guide

CoverRaising Trees and Shrubs from Seed (PDF-648K)

Forestry Commission Practice Guide 18.