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Habit at Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. October 24, 2007.
Origin and Habitat: Yucca filamentosa is a species of flowering plant in the family Agavaceae native to the southeastern United States as far west as Louisiana and as far north as Maryland and West Virginia. The species is also reportedly naturalized in France, Italy and Turkey.
Habitat and ecology: In its native range, it occurs in sand dunes, waste ground and pine forests along the coastal plain. They are pollinated by the yucca moth Tegeticula yuccasella.
Yucca filamentosa L.
Sp. Pl. 319 (1753).
- Yucca filamentosa L.
- Yucca filamentosa f. genuina Engelm.
- Yucca filamentosa var. bracteata Engelm.
- Yucca filamentosa var. elmensis Sprenger
- Yucca filamentosa foliis-aureovariegata Pynaert
- Yucca filamentosa var. laevigata Engelm.
- Yucca filamentosa var. latifolia Engelm.
- Yucca filamentosa var. maxima Carrière
- Yucca filamentosa var. media Carrière
- Yucca filamentosa var. mexicana S.Schauer
- Yucca filamentosa var. nobilis Sprenger
- Yucca filamentosa var. patens Carrière
- Yucca filamentosa var. ramosa Carrière
- Yucca filamentosa var. recurvifolia Alph.Wood
- Yucca filamentosa var. variegata Carrière
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Bright Edge
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Color Guard
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Gold Garland
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Golden Sword
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Hofer Blue
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Ivory
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Ivory Tower
ENGLISH: Adam's needle, Needle Palm, Desert Candle, Spoonleaf Yucca, Filament Yucca, Beargrass, Adam's Needle Yucca, Silkgrass, Common yucca, Spanish bayonet, Bear-grass, Needle-palm, Silk-grass, Spoon-leaf yucca
ARABIC ( لعربية ): يوكا خيطية
CZECH (Čeština): Juka Vláknitá
DANISH (Dansk): Palmelilje, Trævlet Palmelilje
ESTONIAN (Eesti): Kiuline Tääkliilia
FRENCH (Français): Yucca, Yucca filamenteux
GERMAN (Deutsch): Fädige Palmlilie, Yucca
HUNGARIAN (Magyar): Kerti Jukka, Pálmaliliom
KOREAN (한국어): 실유카
LITHUANIAN (Lietuvių): Pluoštinė juka
NORWEGIAN (Bokmål): Plamelilje, Yucca
POLISH ( Polski): Jukka karolińska, Juka Karolińska, Jukka Karolińsk, Jukka Nitkowata, Jukka Ogrodowa
SPANISH (Español): Yuca
SWEDISH (Svenska): Fiberpalmlilja
Description: Yucca filamentosa is a multi-suckering herbaceous perennial shrub mostly trunkless up to 1 m tall (very seldom indistinctly arborescent), with heads of 75 cm long, filamentous, blue-green, strappy leaves. Y. filamentosa is readily distinguished from other yucca species by white, thready filaments along the leaf margins. Varieties that have been described are rarely recognized in recent literature.
Stem: Acaulescent or rarely caulescent, simple 0–0.5 m in height hidden by the leaves when present.
Rosettes: Usually small, stoloniferous, clump-forming.
Laves: Basal, strap-like, all originating from a point in the form of a rosette. Leaf blade green or slightly glaucous, erect to spreading, proximal leaves often becoming reflexed near middle, lanceolate, flattened, very clearly narrowed towards the base, abruptly narrowed and furrowed to apex, thin, widest near middle, 50–75 cm long, 2–4 cm broad, usually flexible, soft and limp, scabrous, margins entire, long and inrolled at the tip, otherwise splitting into stout curled threads or filaments.
Inflorescence: Paniculate, showy arising beyond rosettes. Peduncle erect, scapelike, 1–3(-4.5) m tall, less than 2.5 cm diameter. Flowers-bearing part well aboye the leaves. Panicle ovoid, 75–150 cm long, glabrous, bearing several dozen of pendulous cream flowers in early summer. Bracts erect.
Flowers: Campanulate, Hanging down 5-7 cm long. Perianth globose. Tepals distinct, nearly white, ovate, 5–7 cm long, 2–3 cm wide, glabrous, abruptly mucronate, (apex acuminate), white tinged with green, yellow or cream. Filaments shorter than pistil. Pistil 1.5–3.8 cm; stigmas lobed.
Blooming season: Flowering mid spring-early summer.
Fruits (capsules): Erect, dry, dehiscent, oblong, 3.8–5 cm long, 2 cm in diameter, dehiscence septicidal. Fruit capsules contain from 120 to 150 seeds that are dispersed by wind.
Seeds; Dull black, thin, 6 mm diameter, flat and winged.
Related species: Y. filamentosa is very closely related to Yucca flaccida and it is possible they should be classified as a single species.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Yucca filamentosa group
- Yucca filamentosa L.: is a multi-suckering, trunkless, shrub up to 1 m tall with blue-green, strappy leaves with white, thready filaments along the leaf margins. Distribution: southeastern United States.
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Bright Edge: a dwarf cultivar with yellow-margined foliage and creamy flowers tinged with green.
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Color Guard: has more crisply defined gold-yellow stripes all year, plus red stripes in the winter.
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Gold Garland: has gold variegation when it is young that transforms to green as the leaf matures.
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Golden Sword: similar to 'Bright Edge', but larger with stripes of gold variegation down the center of each leaf.
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Hofer Blue: is blue-silver to blue-green in spring, fading to green-blue in winter.
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Ivory: has cream-coloured variegation.
- Yucca filamentosa cv. Ivory Tower: has creamy white flowers tinged with green.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Wikipedia contributors. "Yucca filamentosa." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 25 Apr. 2014. Web. 8 Jan. 2015.
2) Forest & Kim Starr “Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle, gold sword yucca)”. Plants of Hawaii. <http://www.starrenvironmental.com>. Web. 5 Jan. 2015.
3) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons: Monocotyledons” Springer Science & Business Media, 17 July 2001
4) T. K. Lim “Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants” Volume 7, Flowers, Volume 7 Springer Science & Business Media, 08 November 2013
5) “Yucca filamentosa” in: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, “Flora of North America, Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and Orchidales.” v 26, p 425. 2006. http://www.efloras.org Web. 8 Jan. 2015.
6) Marr, D. L., et al. (2000). “Pollen dispersal in Yucca filamentosa (Agavaceae): the paradox of self-pollination behavior by Tegeticula yuccasella (Prodoxidae).” American Journal of Botany 87(5), 670-77.
7) “Yucca filamentosa.” in: Fritz Hochstätter “Yucca (Agavaceae).” Band 2 USA, Selbstverlag, 2002, S. 274–278, Fotomaterial S. 281–290, Erstbeschreibung S. 263–265, S. 315–316,
8) Marie Harrison “Flowering Shrubs and Small Trees for the South” Pineapple Press Inc, 2009
Cultivation and Propagation: Yucca filamentosa is a carefree and durable plant that will survive with no help from the gardener and therefore widely cultivated in many selections, including variegated forms. It is fully hardy, though in cultivation it benefits from a sheltered position away from winter winds. Like its larger counterparts, this yucca has needle-tipped leaves, so you can't plant it near play or walk areas. The plant thrives in sandy to sandy loam soils in full sun and is very drought tolerant and do well in outdoor container even without supplementary irrigation.
Growth rate: It grows fairly rapidly for a Yucca.
Soil: Plant in fast draining soil but can be established in virtually any type of soil . It is adapted to a dry environment, but has a good tolerance to moisture and humidity when planted in a well-draining soil.
Waterings: Provide little or no water in winter. Treat like a succulent. However, they grow faster if watered well (don't water the crown, though they rot easily). In the garden they should be placed in a sunny, well-drained area with additional summer water in dry climates.
Exposure: They thrive best in full sun, but can be grown with some shade and humidity, but may become leggy.
Hardiness. It is hardy outdoors in central Europe but best where winter temperatures stay above 0° C, but resist to -18° C (or even less) in well drained soil, planted in protect and exposed to south area. Plants in containers can be moved inside during longer cold spells.
Manteinance: Remove dead fronds and spent fruiting stalks for a clean landscape appearance. If you have more than you need, or want to clear an area of Y. filamentosa, you may have a problem. Long tap roots are almost impossible to dig up. New plants grow readily from any root pieces that remain in the ground.
Garden uses: Y. filamentosa is widely cultivated in mild temperate areas as an architectural plant.
Edible Plant Parts and Uses: Flowers are eaten fresh and raw, cooked or dried, crushed and used as flavouring. Flowers can be added to salad. Some common recipes include yucca flower soup, stuffed yucca flowers and apple crumble pie. Another-recipe is braised yucca flowers with peas. Flowering stem is cooked and used like asparagus. The fruits are eaten raw or cooked. The fruit is often dried for winter use.
Traditional uses: The leaves, stems and roots of this plant can be used to stun fish. The Cherokee used it for this purpose.
Propagation: Offsets. The species is also easy to propagate from stems or truncheons.
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