Pacific yews are the best source for taxol, although taxol is present in European yews
and other yews around the world.
Taxotere, a drug derived from the needles of the European yew
tree, has shown promise in fighting cancer.
Taxotere is synthesized from 10-deacetyl baccatin III, a taxol precursor extracted from the leaves of the European yew
Eight years ago, Pierre Potier, an organic chemist with the Institute of the Chemistry of Natural Substances in Gifsur-Yvette, France, found that the leaves of the European yew
contain a compound that closely resembles taxol's three-ring core.
Then a French pharmaceutical company, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer conducted trials on the European yew
and found a compound from clippings could be synthesised into a Taxol-like substance.