Paleoclimate reconstructions from tree rings have so far been restricted to the western and northern Caucasus, and there have been no published tree-ring studies on any topic from the Republic of Azerbaijan in the eastern Caucasus. Here we report the first tree-ring study conducted in Azerbaijan and show that, in the southern part of the country, the common yew (Taxus baccata L.) has potential to provide annually-resolved paleoclimate information on temperature variability during winter. During the summers of 2016 and 2017, we obtained single cores from 23 yews in the Hyrcanian forests of southern Azerbaijan, near the village of Hamarat (Lerik district). The oldest yew had an inner ring date of C.E. 1867, but most other trees at this location began growing in the early 20th Century. Growth at the Lerik site is primarily and positively influenced by winter temperatures and, to a lesser degree, precipitation during summer and early autumn. Future collections of tree-ring widths from T. baccata in Azerbaijan could fill important geographic and seasonal gaps in our current paleotemperature network, and also provide useful information regarding the pace and potential impacts of wintertime warming in this region.

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