Yucca species

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Scientific Name Yucca elata USDA PLANTS Symbol
YUEL
Common Name Soaptree Yucca ITIS Taxonomic Serial No.
43139
Family Asparagaceae (Asparagus) SEINet Reference
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Description Habitat: Desert habitat; mesas, sandy plains, hillsides from 1500 to 6000 ft.
Plant: Erect, tree-like yucca with stems 3 to 15 feet tall and 1 to 5 ascending branches up to 25 ft tall.
Leaves: Large, symmetrical head of fine, arching, flexible, gray-green to blue-green linear, sharp-pointed leaves 12 to 36 inches long and less than 1/2-inch wide, convex in cross-section; white or greenish-white margins with curly filaments, no teeth.
Inflorescence: Flowering stalk 3 to 7 feet long with a very large spreading panicle 1-1/2 to 11 ft. long and 1-1/2 to 3 ft. in diameter, containing of 20 to 45 side branches covered with clusters of bell-shaped flowers, creamy-white, may be greenish or pink-tinged; petals 1-3/8 to 2-1/4 inches long.
Bloom Period: May to July.
References: "Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas" by Correll and Johnston and SEINet.
Texas Status
Native
Scientific Name Yucca faxonia USDA PLANTS Symbol
YUFA
Common Name Giant Dagger Yucca, Faxon Yucca ITIS Taxonomic Serial No.
43119
Family Asparagaceae (Asparagus) SEINet Reference
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Description Habitat: Desert habitat; rocky slopes, bluffs, plains, 2600 to 6900 ft.
Plant: Solitary, erect, large, tree-like, 8 to 30 feet tall, including flower spike; usually unbranched or with 2 to 4 branches.
Leaves: Erect, rigid, spine-tipped linear leaves 17 to 43 inches long and 1-1/4 to over 3 inches wide, pale green to yellow-green with curling, brownish threadlike fibers on the edges; large numbers drooping dead leaves below.
Inflorescence: A very large cluster of white sometimes purple-tinged blossoms in a broadly ovoid, often branched panicle from almost 2 to more than 8 feet tall, lower portion within the foliage; many hanging, bell-shaped flowers, 1-1/2 to more than 4 inches long.
Bloom Period: Late winter through spring.
Fruit: Hanging, fleshy, greenish and berry-like, elongated, 1-1/2 to 5+ inches long and 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches across.
References: "Little Big Bend" by Roy Morey, "Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas" by Correll and Johnston, and SEINet.
Texas Status
Native
Scientific Name Yucca rupicola USDA PLANTS Symbol
YURU
Common Name Texas Yucca, Twisted-leaf Yucca ITIS Taxonomic Serial No.
565606
Family Asparagaceae (Asparagus) SEINet Reference
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Description Habitat: Limestone ledges and rocky soils in open woods, dense brushlands and grassy prairies.
Plant: One or colonies of plants with a rosette of leaves hugging the ground.
Leaves: Green twisted, weak, hairless leaves 1 to 2 feet long and 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches wide with tiny reddish-brown to yellow teeth along the edges.
Inflorescence: In bloom, the scape (stalk) is 2 to 5 feet long with many hanging white or greenish-white bell-shaped flowers 1-1/2 to 2 inches long grouped in a panicle 1 to 3 feet tall with 8 to 16 branchlets.
Bloom Period: April to June.
Fruit: Capsule 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches long, 3/4 to 1-1/4 inches across, ellipsoidal to cylindrical; beak flares and twists when dry.
References: "Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country" by Marshall Enquist and "Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas" by Correll and Johnston.
Texas Status
Native
Endemic to Edwards Plateau
Scientific Name Yucca thompsoniana USDA PLANTS Symbol
YUTH
Common Name Thompson Yucca, Beaked Yucca ITIS Taxonomic Serial No.
43153
Family Asparagaceae (Asparagus) SEINet Reference
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Description Habitat: Desert habitat; rocky slopes and knolls, 650 to 4600 ft.
Plant: Solitary, erect, large, tree-like, usually single trunk up to 10 feet high, not including flower spike.
Leaves: Often asymmetrical rosette of 100 or more leaves radiating from the top of the trunk with drooping dead leaves below; thin, flexible, mostly linear leaves 8 to 12 inches long up to 1/2 inch wide; minutely-toothed yellow to brownish edges.
Inflorescence: A very large cluster of blossoms in a narrowly ellipsoidal panicle from 1-1/2 to 3 feet tall starting usually 4 to 8 inches above the leaves and with 20 to 34 branchlets; many hanging, globe- to bell-shaped flowers, white petals 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches long.
Bloom Period: April to May.
Fruit: Erect ellipsoidal capsule, 1-3/8 to 2-3/4 inches long and 3/4 to 1 inch across with a long twisted beak that flares when dry.
Notes: The photos labeled Y. thompsoniana below may be mis-identified because (a) they were taken in the Chiso Basin at ~5300 ft. elevation, (b) the leaves are wider than 1/2 inch and (c) the inflorescence is well within the foliage.
References: "Little Big Bend" by Roy Morey, "Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas" by Correll and Johnston, and SEINet.
Texas Status
Native
Scientific Name Yucca treculeana (Yucca torreyi) USDA PLANTS Symbol
YUTR
Common Name Spanish Dagger, Don Quixote's Lace ITIS Taxonomic Serial No.
43123
Family Asparagaceae (Asparagus) SEINet Reference
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Description Habitat: Desert habitat; grassy or rocky slopes or mesas, brushland, chaparral; up to 5200 ft.
Plant: Solitary, erect, large, tree-like, usually 1 or 2 but as many as 8 ragged, shaggy trunks of varying heights; up to 14 feet high (rarely); trunks may be branched.
Leaves: Small terminal head of a few blades or a large, elongated head of many leaf blades; blades hanging at all angles, rigid, thick, yellowish to bluish green, usually U- or V-shaped in cross section, 12 to 40 inches long and 1-1/4 to 2 inches wide; margins with initially curly, becoming straight, light brown fibers.
Inflorescence: Very large, dense cluster of blossoms in an ovoid or narrowly ellipsoidal panicle from 14 to 28 inches long usually with a fraction of its length above the leaf blades; many globe- to bell-shaped blossoms, cream-colored occasionally deeply tinged with dark purple; 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches long.
Bloom Period: March to May.
Fruit: Cylindrical or ovoid, hanging, fleshy capsule 2-3/4 to 4 inches long, 1 to 1-1/2 inches across, dark brown.
References: "Little Big Bend" by Roy Morey, "Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas" by Correll and Johnston, and SEINet.
Texas Status
Native

© Tom Lebsack 2019