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Yucca glauca (Soapweed yucca)
Cressler, Alan

Yucca glauca

Yucca glauca Nutt.

Soapweed Yucca, Narrowleaf Yucca, Plains Yucca, Beargrass, Great Plains Yucca

Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

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

53 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Subshrub , Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: 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 Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: An attractive species especially for its foliage.


Use 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
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Yucca Moth

Value to Beneficial Insects

Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


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: 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 Directory

According 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


Bibref 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

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2018-12-14
Research By: TWC Staff

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