It is common to have evergreen plants in Idaho. There are entire forests filled with them. They do a great job of removing toxins in the air and producing oxygen. They provide homes for wildlife, but some of them can also be harmful to animals.

Why Do People Use Evergreens on Their Property?

Plenty of people have evergreen trees and bushes on their property as landscaping. While staying pleasantly green all year to appease the eye, they help in other areas as well. Evergreens provide privacy for homes year-round without fencing. They can help reduce outside noise pollution from invading the peaceful atmosphere at home. They are a needed windbreak (and sometimes trash catcher) in Idaho’s gusty weather.

But there is one evergreen in particular that is not welcome in parts of Idaho. The yew. Nature decided there should be a way to control the animal population so it made a deadly plant. The yew isn’t Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, but it kills animals. Yes, humans are animals too.

Illegal Evergreen: Common Plant is Deadly to Wildlife in Idaho

Humans, in our brilliance, decided ‘Hey, let’s use these plants we know are poisonous in our landscaping. They are easy to take care of, and we like easy gardening. What could go wrong?’ While touching yew won’t cause harm like poison ivy or oak, ingesting the leaf-like needles can be deadly to wildlife and humans alike.

These lovely beauties kill wildlife every year. Yew contains taxine alkaloids - a poison. Wildlife get a bit hungry in the winter and look for anything green. Recently, a moose was found dead in a subdivision north of Ketchum. It is such a problem there, that they instituted a yew ordinance in Blaine County.

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Perhaps we can leave the yew to its natural areas. Why import more from Europe, Japan, or China? As long as animals stick to eating just the red berries, the yew can provide food and protection to wildlife, but we don’t need them in our landscaping. Maybe find something to put in your yard that won’t kill hungry elk or children if they happen to get curious.

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