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Yucca aloifolia (Spanish dagger)
Cressler, Alan

Yucca aloifolia

Yucca aloifolia L.

Spanish Dagger, Spanish Bayonet, Aloe Yucca

Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)



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

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul


USA: 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 Conditions

Water 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.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: 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

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski

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Additional resources

USDA: Find Yucca aloifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Yucca aloifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Yucca aloifolia


Record Modified: 2017-07-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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