Pollen strobili simple, solitary, subsessile, the peduncles to 1 mm long, axillary on first-year branchlets, globose before expansion then short oblong-cylindrical, 2.
Tree 12-20 m tall or densely branched shrub; bark scaly, flaky, red-brown to purple-brown; branchlets all green or all brown or mixed, first-year shoots always green; buds ovoid, almost globose, the scales persistent, only slightly keeled, obtuse.
Tree 5-25 m tall with slightly pendulous branches; bark scaly, dark red-brown; branchlets yellow-green to light brown, first-year shoots green; buds ovoid, the scales persistent but loose, sometimes yellow-brown.
Monoecious or dioecious shrub to 2 m tall, with many ascending branches, the main stems often prostrate and rooting; bark scaly, brown; branchlets red-brown, the tips drooping slightly, first-year shoots green; buds ovoid or conical, green, small, the scales persistent, greater in number than the other species, keeled, acute or obtuse.
Tree to 15 m tall, in cultivation a wide shrub; bark red-brown to red-orange or sometimes gray; branchlets yellow-green to light brown, first-year shoots green; buds smaller than in T.
Tree to 20 m tall, but mostly a shrub in cultivation; bark scaly, red-brown to dark brown; branchlets brown, first-year shoots yellow-green; buds oblong to ovoid, the scales persistent, keeled, tending to be acute.
Tree to 8 m tall or shrub, with crowded, short, spreading branches; bark scaly, purplebrown; branchlets red-brown, first-year and sometimes second-year shoots green; buds ovoid, the scales persistent, rounded or only slightly keeled, obtuse.
Shrubs with dense ascending branches or with vigorous growth and spreading branches; bark red-brown; branchlets brown, first-year shoots green', buds ovoid, the scales persistent, and less keeled than T.
Tree or shrub, often densely branched; bark red-brown to red-orange; branchlets olive-green, often red-brown above, not changing to brown (at least on the more vigorous growth); buds ovoid, the scales persistent, not as strongly keeled as T.
Without this information identification is difficult, the only reasonably reliable feature being the color change of the branchlets in the third year of growth.
The genus is distinguished from Taxus by its opposite or subopposite branchlets and lack of a prominent midrib on the upper surface of the leaf.
Branchlets dark red-brown or brown by the third year; spines at leaf tips usually 2 mm long T.