The needles of several yew species and cultivars were analysed by high-pressure liquid chromatography for paclitaxel, 10-deacetylpaclitaxel, cephalomannine, baccatin III, 10-deacetylbaccatin III and brevifoliol. About 750 samples were collected from five different locations in the Netherlands and the UK. The results of this screening show a large variation in taxane content between the different species and cultivars. The content of paclitaxel and 10-deacetylbaccatin III varied from 0 to 500 micrograms/g and 0 to 4800 micrograms/g dried needles, respectively. Brevifoliol was found in a very high concentration in Taxus brevifolia. 10-Deacetylpaclitaxel, cephalomannine and baccatin III were found in concentrations ranging from 0 to 500 micrograms/g dried needles.