It can reach a longevity of up to 1000 years, and naturally lives exceeding 1600 meters high. The name derives from its Latin name, used by Virgil and Pliny, taken from the Greek taxis, command, perhaps alluding to the arrangement of the rows of its leaves. Its generic name refers to the toxic nature of this plant: all parts of the tree, except the outer shell of the seed, containing taxina that disrupts the nervous system, in fact, St. Isidore of Seville, in the seventh century, says the use of these seeds in the Iberian Peninsula by the ancient Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia people like poison to commit suicide when they were besieged by the enemy or made prisoners.
The Celts worshiped the yew as a sacred tree, probably due to the extraordinary longevity of the plant, which makes it seem immortal. For this reason, in Spain they have been planted extensively in the Cantabrian coast to around chapels, churches and cemeteries since ancient times as a symbol of transcendence of death. Precisely because of its longevity is also common its use as a borderline or venue, being easy to find in town squares under which the open council was held.