Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Yucca filamentosa L.
Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)
A 6 ft. flowering stalk rises above 2-3 ft. high clumps of erect, dagger-like, blue-green leaves. The flowers are cream-colored and are followed by persistent seed pods. A tall, stout stem
rises from a rosette
of rigid, sword-like leaves and bears a loose cluster of white, nodding, bell-shaped flowers.
Although yuccas are more typical of western deserts and grasslands, some are native
in the East. This species escapes from cultivation in the northern part of its range. Soapweed (Y. glauca
) is a typical species of the western Plains, found east to Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas; its rigid, bayonet-like leaves have hairy edges, and the flowering stalk, reaching a height of 4 (1.2 m), bears a flower cluster, the base of which is reached by the leaf tips. Spanish Bayonet (Y. aloifolia
), found from North Carolina south to Florida and Alabama, has toothed
leaves with hairless edges. Yucca fruit
can be cooked and eaten after the seeds are removed; the large petals are used in salads. Yuccas depend on the Yucca Moth as their agent of pollination, and these moths depend on yuccas for food. At flowering time the female moth gathers a mass of pollen from the anthers of the yucca and then flies to another yucca flower, where she deposits a number of eggs into the ovary
among the ovules (immature seeds). Next, she places the pollen mass on the stigma
of the flower, thus ensuring pollination and subsequent development of the ovules into seeds. As the seeds enlarge, they become the food source for the moth larvae. Many of the seeds remain uninjured and are eventually dispersed, potentially producing new plants. At maturity, the larvae leave the seed capsule,
drop to the ground, and pupate. The adult moth emerges next season as the yuccas begin to flower.
Image Gallery: 4 photo(s) available
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MA , MI , MS , MO , NE , NJ , NY , NC , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV , WI Native Distribution:
Long Island and PA, s. to FL and LA Native Habitat:
Dry, sandy, open woods, hills & prairies USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Coarse, dry sands.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for: