Rounded pear-shape, and when mature splits into two, exposing a crimson arillus surrounding a single seed (figs.
When the fruit is collected the pericarp is first removed; then the arillus is carefully stripped off and dried, in which state it forms the mace of commerce.
Ripens into a berry-like, very rarely capsular, fruit with the three groups of seeds arranged in lines along the walls, but imbedded in a pulpy arillus derived from the stalk of the seed.
The morphology of the female flowers has been variously interpreted by botanists; the peduncle bearing the ovules has been described as homologous with the petiole of a foliage-leaf and as a shoot-structure, the collar-like envelope at the base of the ovules being referred to as a second integument or arillus, or as the representative of a carpel.
The female flowers of the Taxaceae assume another form; in Microcachrys (Tasmania) the reproductive structures are spirally disposed, and form small globular cones made up of red fleshy scales, to each of which is attached a single ovule enclosed by an integument and partially invested by an arillus; in Dacrydium the carpellary leaves are very similar to the foliage leaves - each bears one ovule with two integuments, the outer of which constitutes an arillus.
Finally in the yew, as a type of the family Taxeae, the ovules occur singly at the apex of a lateral branch, enclosed when ripe by a conspicuous red or yellow fleshy arillus, which serves as an attraction to animals, and thus aids in the dispersal of the seeds.
Taxus, Cephalotaxus, Dacrydium, &c.) the ordinary integument is partially enclosed by an arillus or second integument.
It is held by some botanists (Celakovsky) that the seminiferous scale of the Abietineae is homologous with the arillus or second integument of the Taxaceae, but this view is too strained to gain general acceptance.