Florin (1948, 1958) argued that Taxus and its related genera Amentotaxus, Austrotaxus
, Pseudotaxus, and Torreya differed significantly from other conifers and should be segregated in their own class, mainly because the ovule is terminal on a shoot in this group and lateral in other living conifers.
Austrotaxus and Pseudotaxus are known only from New Caledonia and the Zhejiang (Chekiang) Province, China, respectively.
Evergreen, dioecious (sometimes monoecious in Torreya and Taxus canadensis) trees or shrubs; bark thin and flaking to thick and rough or tight, red-brown to dark brown, calcium oxalate crystalline fibers sometimes present; wood lacking resin, with helical thickenings on secondary walls of axial tracheids (often absent in Austrotaxus); branches spreading to erect and ascending; branchlets opposite or alternate, glabrous, brown to green, completely covered by the decurrent bases of the leaves.
argotaenia) or uncounted (Austrotaxus, Pseudo-taxus).
The Taxaceae are a family of five genera and 25 species (including 2 artificial hybrids) distributed in the northern hemisphere except for the monotypic Austrotaxus, which occurs in New Caledonia, and one species of Taxus in Indonesia [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED].