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Yucca torreyi (Torrey yucca)
Braden, Al

Yucca torreyi

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 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

50 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


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 Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX


Bibref 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.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2017-05-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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