A fleshy aril surrounds each seed in this European yew
is a fleshy covering of certain seeds formed from the funiculus
(attachment point of the seed). The aril creates a fruit-like structure (called a false-fruit
) and is produced by a few species of gymnosperms, notably the yews of the Family Taxaceae
. Instead of having a cone-like structure as is typical of most gymnosperms, the reproductive structure of the yew consists of a single seed that becomes surrounded by a fleshy, cup-like covering. In the photograph of a European yew (Taxus baccata
) at left, note that the aril starts out as a small, green band at the base of the seed, then turns brown to red as it enlarges and surrounds the seed, eventually becoming fleshy and scarlet in color at maturity. The aril is attractive to birds and non-toxic (all other parts of the yew are toxic), serving therefore to promote dispersal of the yew seed by birds.