Taxus. Yew tree.
Taxus. Taxus baccata L. Yew Tree. If commun, Fr. Eibe, G. (Fam. Taxaceae.)—The fruit of this handsome evergreen appears to be a deadly poison. In a fatal case the child was found semi-comatose, with convulsions, a cold and clammy skin, difficult respirations, dilated pupils, and making attempts at vomiting. The poison is probably in the seeds. (See 16th edition, U. S. D.; also James Thompson, L. L., 1868, 530. For fatal cases in adults, see M. T. G., 1870, ii; also L. L; 1870, 471; also P. J., viii, 361.) W. Marme obtained from yew seeds and leaves an alkaloid, C37H51NO10, to which the name of taxine has been given. It was a white, poisonous, crystalline powder, only slightly soluble in water, easily soluble in ether, alcohol, chloroform, benzene and carbon disulphide, but not in petroleum benzin. It fused at 80° C. (176° F.). With concentrated sulphuric acid it gave a red color, but dissolved without color in nitric and phosphoric acids. (A. J. P., 1876, 353.) For Vreven's method of isolating taxine, see P. J., 1806, 215. Amato and Capparelli (Gazz. Chim., x, 349) prepared from the leaves a volatile alkaloid, which was soluble in cold sulphuric acid with yellow color, becoming red on heating. They also isolated a nitrogenous crystalline and colorless principle, fusing at from 86° to 87° C. (186.8°-188.6° F.), soluble in alcohol, insoluble in waiter, named milossin.
Lefebvre (A. Pharm., ccxiv, 486) has isolated from the twigs of the yew a crystalline glucoside to which he gives the name "taxicatin." It had the formula of C13H22O7 + 2H2O and a melting point of 165° C. (329° F.).