Cephalotaxus fortunei

Chinese Plum Yew

Plant Type:


Cephalotaxus fortunei – Fortune's Plum Yew. Chinese Plum Yew's dark, glossy green needles grow to 3.5 inches long set on a flattened, two-dimensional plane upon each stem. Masses of branched stems on this upright mounder form an architecturally handsome plant which can be used as a specimen, screen, in a hedge, hedgerow, backdrop and as it lends itself well to pruning would be beautiful in a formal setting. Cephalotaxus fortunei is a very shade tolerant shrub where it can be grown. This is a great choice for southern landscapes as Fortune's Plum Yew demonstrates great heat tolerance. Certainly, a sheltered site will be crucial where attempted in USDA zone 6; indeed, a winter protection with heavy burlap attached to stakes around the shrub would be a wise precaution for three years after the shrub has been planted until it really settles into this colder environment. However, following two very hard winters here in northeastern Connecticut our plant in summer shade to dappled light through a tangle of shade-projecting woody branches from largely deciduous neighboring plants has surprisingly survived with barely any tip damage both years. The new growth pushed through the damaged ends and continued to increase the shrub's size during its growth cycle. Our Fortune's Plum Yew probably also has found fortune in that we've set it about 10 feet off the southeast corner of our potting shed which, along with its woody neighbors, provides some protection from the north and west. However, we are beginning to think that this plant is hardier than suggested. In that we've changed its northern designation to USDA zone (5b sheltered)6. Cephalotaxus fortunei is a dioecious species with male and female inflorescence on separate individuals. Fertile, moist loam amended with organic matter in morning sun, dappled to open shade siting. Not recommended for planting at the northern end of its climate range in autumn. Established pot grown starter shrub from cutting. Please scroll down for more information about conifers.


10-15 ft


8-12 ft


(5b sheltered)6 to 9
What is my hardiness zone?

Characteristics and Attributes for Cephalotaxus fortunei

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Four Seasons


  • Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
  • Shade Tolerant


  • Hedge
  • Evergreen

Growth Rate in the Garden

  • Medium


  • Organic
  • Draining
  • Fertile
  • Humus Laden


  • China
  • Burma

Propagated By

  • Cutting Grown