Yucca glauca Nutt.
Soapweed yucca, Narrowleaf yucca, Plains yucca, Beargrass
Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)
USDA Symbol: YUGL
A 3-4 ft. wide clump of pale-green, dagger-like leaves subtends the 4 1/2 ft. flowering stalk of this yucca. The 20-30 in. long leaves are evergreen, persisting for several years. Bell-shaped, greenish-white, pendulous flowers are followed by woody, oblong, cream-colored seed capsules.
Soapweed Yucca is a member of the agave family (family Agavaceae). Agaves are stout plants with woody stems or stem-bases, often tall, even tree-like, the long and narrow leaves crowded in rosettes at ends of stems or branches, a stout rapidly growing flower stalk arising from the rosette. Members of this family are from tropical or warm regions, often where it is arid. There are about 20 genera and 700 species, many of which supply valuable fiber, such as sisal hemp.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: AR , CO , IA , KS , MO , MT , ND , NE , NM , OK , SD , TX , WY
Canada: AB , SK
Native Distribution: IA Loess Hills to ND & MT, s. to TX, NM & AZ
Native Habitat: Dry plains; sandhills
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: An attractive species especially for its foliage.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Plants provide food and nesting for small mammals, birds and reptiles.
Use Medicinal: Pulverized roots mixed with tepid water drunk for stomachache. (Kindscher) Amerindians used poulticed root on inflammations and to stop bleeding, also in steam bath for sprains. Leaf juice as poison for arrows and in fishing. (Foster & Duke) Roots of plant pounded and mixed with water to make shampoo for dandruff and minor skin irritations. Lotion of soapy juice from root used on rash of poison ivy.(Weiner)
Use Other: Root used to make soap. Soak hair in root solution to kill lice; also to prevent loss of hair. (Kindscher) Hair wash for dandruff and baldness. (Foster & Duke)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Larval Host: Yucca Moth
Value to Beneficial InsectsProvides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Yuccas will germinate promptly from fresh seed held over winter. Seeds germinate best in 60-70 degree temperatures. Yuccas may also be grown from rhizomes, stem cuttings, or by digging offsets from the side of established plants. Transplant into a well
Seed Collection: Seeds are not produced every year; pollination being dependent on the Pronuba moth. Gather capsules as they begin to dry but before they split. Allow to dry, then crush to remove seeds. Overwinter, keep seeds in moist sand in the refrigerator. For longer storage periods, keep in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Stratification increases germination rate only slightly.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 1207 - Earth Medicine, Earth Food (1990) Michael A. Weiner
Bibref 610 - Edible wild plants of the prairie : an ethnobotanical guide (1987) Kindscher, K.
Bibref 417 - Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America (2000) Foster, S. & J. A. Duke
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.View Recommended Species page
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Yucca glauca in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Yucca glauca in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Yucca glauca
MetadataRecord Modified: 2009-08-27
Research By: TWC Staff