Yucca filamentosa L.
Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)
Synonym(s): Yucca concava, Yucca filamentosa var. concava
USDA Symbol: yufi
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Class: 6-12 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NE , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WI , WV
Native Distribution: Long Island and PA, s. to FL and LA
Native Habitat: Dry, sandy, open woods, hills & prairies
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)Yucca filamentosa is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
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Cofaqui Giant-Skipper |
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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: 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: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Yucca filamentosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Yucca filamentosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Yucca filamentosa
MetadataRecord Modified: 2012-12-09
Research By: TWC Staff