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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - May 30, 2008

From: Lometa, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Are Yucca and Spanish dagger the same?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have Yucca, and we have Spanish Dagger. We don't think they are the same thing. Are they?

ANSWER:

There are two plants in our Native Plant Database with the common name Spanish dagger:  Yucca treculeana (Spanish dagger) and Yucca aloifolia (Spanish dagger)—with photos from Auburn University Horticulture Department. I don't know which of these you have; but, as you can see, they both have the same genus name, Yucca; but different species names, aloifolia and treculeana. Additionally, there are lots of other species in the Genus Yucca and even some plants that have "yucca" as part of their common names, but are not in the Genus Yucca. I don't know which Yucca you have, probably Yucca arkansana (Arkansas yucca) or Yucca pallida (twistleaf yucca) where you live. Many plants that share common names are really different species. This is why botanists use the scientific names when referring to plants so that everyone knows exactly which plant they mean. So, the answer to your question is that both your plants are in the Genus Yucca and closely related, but are not exactly the same thing since they are different species.

 

 

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