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Yucca aloifolia L.
Spanish Dagger, Spanish Bayonet, Aloe Yucca
Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)
USDA Symbol: YUAL
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (I), VI (I)
Aloe yucca or spanish dagger is a slender-stemmed plant, 6-12 ft. high (sometimes taller) with a stocky, branched or unbranched trunk. The evergreen leaves are thick and stiff and up to 2 ft. long, with tiny, sharp serrations on the margin and a very sharp tip. Whitish, pendulous flowers, about 3 in. wide, occur in erect clusters up to 2 ft. long, and are followed by fruit which becomes pendent. Evergreen shrub or small tree often with stout clustered trunks that are sometimes branched, with sprouts at the slightly swollen base, and with bayonetlike leaves crowded and spreading at top.
Tolerant of salt and suitable for planting along sandy shores, Spanish Bayonet is easily propagated from sprouts. Several cultivated varieties have striped or colored leaves. The fruit is eaten by birds and sometimes by humans, and the flowers can be served as a salad or cooked. Pioneers made rope and string from the fibrous leaves.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: AL , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from NC to FL & LA
Native Habitat: Sand dunes; edges of brackish marshes
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Well-drained sands.
Conditions Comments: Spanish dagger is tolerant of salt spray. It is often used as an ornamental but its placement should be carefully considered as the sharp-pointed leaves can be dangerous.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
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.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Yucca aloifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Yucca aloifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Yucca aloifolia
MetadataRecord Modified: 2017-07-07
Research By: TWC Staff