All species of yew contain highly poisonous alkaloids known as taxanes, with some variation in the exact formula of the alkaloid between the species. All parts of the tree except the arils contain the alkaloid. The arils (berries) are edible and sweet, but the seed is dangerously poisonous.
Yew wood is reddish brown (with whiter sapwood), and is very springy. It was traditionally used to make bows, especially the longbow. Yew wood is considered the most prized wood in North America for bow making– even better than the Osage Tree wood.
Database Entry: Distance Everheart 5-14-13