Yucca

Narrowleaf Yucca, courtesy of Al Schneider, Southwest Colorado Wildflowers
Narrowleaf Yucca (Yucca angustissima 
 
Common Name(s):

Yucca

Scientific Name:

Yucca sp. L.

Scientific Name Synonyms:

None known

Symbol:

YUCCA

Description:

Life Span: Perennial

Origin: Native

Season: Cool

Growth Characteristics: A shrub which can grow up to 15 feet tall. It is deep rooted and long lived, with individual plant living hundreds of years. Some species are rhizomatous.

Flowers/Inflorescence: Creamy white, tulip-like blossoms, clustered on tall stalks. The flowers are very fragrant. Yucca is pollinated at night by small whitish moths that push pollen into the stigmas of the blossoms and deposit their eggs at the same time.

Fruits/Seeds: Fruits are dry capsules that contain many dry flat seeds. The young moths, deposited in the stigma, eat some of the seed, but not all.

Leaves: Stand out protectively and are armed with very hard sharp points. Most have loose thread-like fibers that curl from their edges.

Stems: Stems can be single or clumped. The bark is rough and rigid.

Ecological Adaptations:

Yucca species are native to the arid region of the Southwest.

Soils: Occur mostly on sandy soils.

Associated Species: Utah juniper, littleleaf mahogany, sand sagebrush, blackbrush.

Uses and Management:

All species of yucca have played an important role in the economy of the American Indians. Stalks, buds, flowers, and some fruits have served as food. Roots are used for soap and as a laxative and leaf fibers were used as cordage, weaving material, and sandals.