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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Hesperoyucca whipplei (Torr.) Baker
Chaparral yucca, Foothill yucca, Our Lord's candle
Synonyms: Yucca whipplei
USDA Symbol: hewh
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Found from central California east to extreme southwest Arizona and south into Baja California, this yucca has a ground-level rosette of 2 ft., gray-green to bluish, spine-tipped leaves that are decorative without the flowering stalks. When the plant is several years old, it sends up a tall flower stalks which bears hundreds of drooping, waxy, bell-shaped, pale yellow or cream-colored flowers. Several thousand white or cream flowers, often tinged with purple, in a long massive cluster on a stout stalk growing from a dense basal rosette of gray-green, rigid, spine-tipped leaves.
This is the showiest of the yuccas; hundreds in bloom provide a spectacular sight on brushy slopes. The plants die after flowering. All yuccas have a reciprocal relationship with Yucca Moths. After gathering pollen from the flowers and rolling the pollen into little balls, the moths lay their eggs in the ovaries of other flowers and then pack the pollen into holes on the stigma, thus both pollinating the flower and ensuring seed production. The larvae feed on a fraction of the developing seeds, then burrow out of the fruit when mature.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun
AZ , CA Native Distribution:
S. CA and extreme southwestern AZ south into Baja California Native Habitat:
Dry stony slopes, chaparral, and mountains, 1000-4000 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Dry, stony soils.
Conditions Comments: The Yucca moth is the only pollinator of this species. Because it is doubtless absent in a planned landscape, this yucca will not produce seeds from the flowers. Hand pollination is possible, but seeds are available from commercial sources. Since the plants die after fruiting, be sure to plant the seeds several years in succession.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
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:
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:
No treatment is necessary, but germination may be enhanced by soaking the seeds in water for two days before planting. Commercially Avail:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CA
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Record Modified: 2010-09-01
Research By: TWC Staff