THE Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh (RBGE) is offering 100
churches a yew tree to plant in their churchyards.
The offer comes as the RBGE is planting a yew hedge of 2000
saplings across Britain. It is hoped that it will be completed in
The yew tree that is being offered free to any church is a rare
variety from Chile.
The co-ordinator of the RBGE international conifer conservation
programme, Martin Gardner, says that the free trees are being
offered because historic yew trees in Britain "are under
"We are losing ancient yews all the time in this country, to
climate change, development, and vandalism," he said. "We have to
conserve every single one.
"It matters because this is important genetic material. We also
know that yew trees have important properties for treating cancer;
but we have only just touched the tip of the iceberg for testing
plants like yew for their medical uses."
A spokesman for the Church of England said: "We welcome the news
that the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, are utilising the
diverse and extensive range of churchyards."