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Yucca torreyi Shafer
Torrey Yucca, Torrey's Yucca, Spanish Bayonet, Spanish Dagger, Old Shag, Palma
Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)
Synonym(s): Yucca baccata var. macrocarpa, Yucca crassifolia, Yucca macrocarpa
USDA Symbol: YUTO
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
The Torrey yucca sometimes reaches a height of 20 feet, but more commonly 3-10 feet. The trunk is often branched, but sometimes has a single stem. The flower head may extend to 2 feet on the upper portion of the stem. The flowers are bell-shaped, 2-3 inches long, creamy-white or tinged with purple, waxy, with 6 tepals, 6 stamens, and 1 pistil which is 1-1 1/2 inches long. Leaves are 2-4 1/2 feet long, straight and rigid, ending in a sharp spine 1 1/2-2 inches long, they radiate around the stem.
This species was named for John Torrey (1796-1873), the Columbia University botanist, who designated this yucca as a new variety in 1859. Native Americans ate the pulpy fruits of this and related shrubby species either raw or roasted; they also dried and ground them into meal for winter use. The coarse fibers of the long leaves were made into ropes, mats, sandals, baskets, and cloth.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: NM , TX
Native Distribution: SW. Texas including Trans-Pecos Texas, S. New Mexico, and NE. Mexico; at 2000-5000' (610-1524 m).
Native Habitat: Dry soils of plains, mesas, and foothill slopes; in desert grassland and shrub thickets.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
BibliographyBibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 297 - Trees of Central Texas (1984) Vines, Robert A.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Yucca torreyi in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Yucca torreyi in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Yucca torreyi
MetadataRecord Modified: 2017-05-10
Research By: TWC Staff