This species was first described in 2007 (Spjut 2007) with a distribution ranging from Xinjiang to Yunnan. Subsequent research, utilising a wider range of morphological characters and molecular techniques, redescribed it and recognised a more restricted distribution, limited to Yunnan and Sichuan (Gao et al. 2007; Moeller et al. 2007, 2013).
The alkaloid compounds (taxanes) of the bark and leaves are a source for the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol®) which has become a major reason for exploitation in recent years. Traditional medicine has made use of young shoots and leaves and sometimes of inner bark for a long time in various potions, tinctures and pastes.