The wind has blown a few shoots off the yews in the woods around the lake at Nostell Priory. Yew, Taxus baccata, is dioecious – each tree is either male or female – and these mini-Brussels sprouts clustered on the stem in the axils of the leaves are the buds of the male flowers.
They will open in February to shed yellow pollen.
Female flowers are less conspicuous and are solitary, borne at the end of the stems. They produce berry-like fruits each with a single poisonous seed surrounded by a bright red fleshy cup, the aril.