Yucca glauca Nutt.



CC = 10
CW = 5
MOC = 4
SRank = S2

© SRTurner

Family - Agavaceae

Habit - Perennial forb.

Stems - Reduced to a persistent woody base.

Yucca_glauca_base.jpg Base of plant.

© DETenaglia

Leaves - Basal, 8-40 cm long, 0.4-1.2 cm wide, somewhat glaucous, stiff and straight, leathery, linear with a short, narrow spine at the tip and white, peeling, fibrous margins.

Yucca_glauca_leaves.jpg Leaves.

© DETenaglia

Yucca_glauca_leaf.jpg Leaf margin.

© DETenaglia

Inflorescences - Racemes to 1 m long, erect or ascending, usually with a few short basal branches, short-stalked with the base of the flowering portion partially hidden by the leaves.

Yucca_glauca_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescences.

© SRTurner

Yucca_glauca_inflorescence2.jpg Inflorescence portion.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Tepals 4-5 cm long, ovate-lanceolate, the tips sharply pointed, green or yellowish white, sometimes tinged pale purple. Stamens usually included, the anthers sagittate. Ovary superior, the style short, the stigma 3-lobed to nearly entire.

Yucca_glauca_flower.jpg Flower.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Capsules. Seeds 10-13 mm wide.

Yucca_glauca_pod.jpg Fruit capsule.

© DETenaglia

Yucca_glauca_seeds.jpg Seeds.

© DETenaglia

Flowering - May - July.

Habitat - Loess hill prairies.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Lookalikes - Other species of Yucca.

Other info. - This succulent species is very uncommon in Missouri, found naturally in only four counties in the extreme northwest and southern portions of the state. It is a characteristic species of the few loess hill prairies left in the state. The plant somewhat resembles the much more common Y. smalliana, but has narrower leaves which are stiff and spiny at the tip. The inflorescences are also mostly unbranched and the flower tepals are sharply pointed at the tip. Although the plant is uncommon in Missouri (and in fact considered imperiled here), it is very common to our west, ranging in a broad band throughout the Plains states, from the southern to northern borders of the country.

The white flowers are produced on a short raceme which reaches about 1 m tall. This species contains saponin glycosides which were used by natives and settlers as soap. The seeds are edible raw or roasted, but they are a bit tough. The leaves have been used to fashion brooms.

Photographs taken on the Dinosaur Ridge Trail near Denver, CO., 1-17-04 (DETenaglia); also along Highway 2 just east of Halsey, Thomas County, NE, 6-9-2015 (SRTurner).