Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Yucca schidigera

Mojave yucca

Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)

Yucca schidigera (Mojave yucca)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn
Evergreen shrub or small tree, usually with several clustered trunks, often with few upright branches, and with bayonetlike leaves.

Native Americans ate the fleshy fruit, either fresh or roasted, and used the fibrous leaves for ropes and coarse blankets. A soap substitute can be obtained from the roots and trunks of this and other yuccas. Flowers in the Yucca genus depend upon the small, white pronuba moth (Tegeticula) for pollination. The female moth gathers pollen and works it into a tiny ball before pushing it against the stigma of another flower, where she deposits her eggs in the ovary. The larvae feed on the developing fruit capsule but leave some seeds to mature. This is a common yucca in the Mojave Desert, often growing with Joshua Tree (Y. brevifolia), a tree-like species that often forms forests.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Flowers white or cream colored.


USA: AZ , CA , NV , UT
Native Distribution: Mojave Desert in NW. Arizona, S. Nevada, S. California, and N. Baja California; at 1000-6000 (305-1829 m), rarely higher.
Native Habitat: Brushy slopes, flats, and open deserts, including Creosote Bush desert and chaparral on dry, gravelly mountain and valley slopes.


Use Ornamental: Used as landscape plant in the southwest.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes

Last Update: 2010-07-19