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SYNONYMS

Clistoyucca (Engelm. ) Trel. Samuela Trel. Sarcoyucca (Engelm.) Linding.

YUCCA is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the family Asparagaceae
Asparagaceae
, subfamily Agavoideae
Agavoideae
. Its 40-50 species are notable for their rosettes of evergreen , tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal panicles of white or whitish flowers . They are native to the hot and dry (arid ) parts of the Americas
Americas
and the Caribbean
Caribbean
. Early reports of the species were confused with the cassava (Manihot esculenta). Consequently, Linnaeus mistakenly derived the generic name from the Taíno word for the latter, yuca (spelled with a single "c"). It is commonly found growing in rural graveyards and when in bloom the cluster of (usually pale) flowers on a thin stalk appear as floating apparitions.

CONTENTS

* 1 Distribution * 2 Ecology * 3 Adaptations

* 4 Uses

* 4.1 Gastronomy

* 5 Cultivation * 6 Symbolism * 7 Species
Species
* 8 Taxonomic arrangement * 9 Cultivars * 10 Gallery * 11 References * 12 External links

DISTRIBUTION

Distribution of the capsular fruited species in southwest, midwest USA, Mexico's Baja California
Baja California
and Canada, overview

The natural distribution range of the genus Yucca
Yucca
(49 species and 24 subspecies) covers a vast area of the Americas
Americas
. The genus is represented throughout Mexico
Mexico
and extends into Guatemala
Guatemala
(Yucca guatemalensis ). It also extends to the north through Baja California in the west, northwards into the southwestern United States , through the drier central states as far north as southern Alberta
Alberta
in Canada ( Yucca glauca ssp. albertana ). Yucca
Yucca
is also native to the lowlands and dry beach scrub of the Gulf and South Atlantic States
South Atlantic States
from coastal Texas
Texas
to easternmost Virginia
Virginia
. Yuccas have adapted to an equally vast range of climatic and ecological conditions. They are to be found in rocky deserts and badlands , in prairies and grassland , in mountainous regions, in light woodland, in coastal sands (Yucca filamentosa ), and even in subtropical and semitemperate zones, although these are generally arid to semi-arid .

ECOLOGY

Yuccas have a very specialized, mutualistic pollination system, being pollinated by yucca moths (family Prodoxidae ); the insect purposefully transfers the pollen from the stamens of one plant to the stigma of another, and at the same time lays an egg in the flower; the moth larva then feeds on some of the developing seeds, always leaving enough seed to perpetuate the species. Certain species of the yucca moth have evolved antagonistic features against the plant and do not assist in the plants pollination efforts while continuing to lay their eggs in the plant for protection. Yucca
Yucca
species are the host plants for the caterpillars of the yucca giant-skipper ( Megathymus yuccae ), ursine giant-skipper ( Megathymus ursus ), and Strecker's giant-skipper ( Megathymus streckeri ). Large Joshua tree
Joshua tree
with thick trunk at Grapevine Springs Ranch, AZ Purplish fruits of Yucca aloifolia
Yucca aloifolia
.

ADAPTATIONS

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Species
Species
of yucca have adapted to a wide variety of climates in mountains, coastal sand, grasslands and prairies as well as rocky badlands and deserts. Most species of yucca have thick, waxy skins to prevent loss of water through evaporation. They frequently store water in thick roots. Some yuccas store water in thick, fleshy leaves. Some desert plants have an oily coating on their leaves or pads that traps moisture, thereby reducing water loss. Some species drop their leaves during drought to prevent the loss of water through transpiration. Dead leaves of yucca collecting against the trunk of the trees help protect it from the sun. The channeled leaves of a yucca direct dew and rainfall water to their roots. Yuccas are said to be "fire adapted"; that is, they grow and spread vigorously after wildfires.

USES

Yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Many species also bear edible parts, including fruits , seeds , flowers , flowering stems , and more rarely roots . References to yucca root as food often arise from confusion with the similarly pronounced, but botanically unrelated, yuca, also called cassava or manioc (Manihot esculenta). Roots of soaptree yucca ( Yucca elata ) are high in saponins and are used as a shampoo in Native American rituals. Dried yucca leaves and trunk fibers have a low ignition temperature, making the plant desirable for use in starting fires via friction. In rural Appalachian areas, species such as Yucca filamentosa
Yucca filamentosa
are referred to as "meat hangers". The tough, fibrous leaves with their sharp-spined tips were used to puncture meat and knotted to form a loop with which to hang meat for salt curing or in smoke houses.

GASTRONOMY

The flower petals are eaten. The petals are blanched for just 5 minutes, and then cooked a la mexicana (with tomato, onion, chile) or in tortitas con salsa (egg-battered patties with green or red sauce). Reproductive organs are removed before blanching because they are too bitter.

CULTIVATION

Yuccas are widely grown as architectural plants providing a dramatic accent to landscape design. They tolerate a range of conditions, but are best grown in full sun in subtropical or mild temperate areas. In gardening centres and horticultural catalogues they are usually grouped with other architectural plants such as cordylines and phormiums .

Joshua trees ( Yucca brevifolia
Yucca brevifolia
) are protected by law in some states. A permit is needed for wild collection. As a landscape plant, they can be killed by excessive water during their summer dormant phase, so are avoided by landscape contractors.

Several species of yucca can be grown outdoors in temperate climates, these include:-

* Y. filamentosa * Y. flaccida

* Y. gloriosa * Y. recurvifolia

SYMBOLISM

The "yucca flower" is the state flower of New Mexico
Mexico
. No species name is given in the citation.

SPECIES

As of February 2012 , the World Checklist of Selected Plant
Plant
Families recognizes 49 species of Yucca
Yucca
and a number of hybrids:

SPECIES NAME COMMON NAME

Yucca aloifolia
Yucca aloifolia
L. (Type species) (syn. Yucca
Yucca
yucatana) Aloe yucca, Spanish bayonet

Yucca angustissima Engelm. ex Trel. (including Yucca
Yucca
kanabensis) Narrowleaf yucca, Spanish bayonet

Yucca arkansana Trel.

Yucca baccata Torr. (including Yucca
Yucca
thornberi) Banana yucca, datil

Yucca baileyi
Yucca baileyi
Wooton & Standl. (syn. Yucca
Yucca
standleyi McKelvey)

Yucca brevifolia
Yucca brevifolia
Engelm. Joshua tree

Yucca campestris McKelvey

Yucca capensis L.W.Lenz

Yucca carnerosana (Trel.) McKelvey

Yucca cernua E.L.Keith

Yucca coahuilensis Matuda & I.L.Pina

Yucca constricta Buckley Buckley's yucca

Yucca decipiens
Yucca decipiens
Trel. Palma China

Yucca declinata Laferr.

Yucca desmetiana Baker

Yucca elata (Engelm.) Engelm. Soaptree yucca

Yucca endlichiana Trel.

Yucca faxoniana Sarg. (syn. Yucca
Yucca
torreyi) Torrey yucca

Yucca filamentosa
Yucca filamentosa
L. Spoonleaf yucca, Filament yucca, or Adam's Needle

Yucca filifera Chabaud Palma Chuna yucca

Yucca flaccida
Yucca flaccida
Haw. Flaccid leaf yucca

Yucca gigantea
Yucca gigantea
Lem. (syn. Yucca
Yucca
guatemalensis) Spineless yucca

Yucca glauca Nutt. Great Plains yucca

Yucca gloriosa
Yucca gloriosa
L. (including Yucca recurvifolia ) Moundlily yucca, Adam's needle, Spanish dagger

Yucca grandiflora Gentry Sahuiliqui yucca

Yucca harrimaniae Trel. (syn. Yucca
Yucca
nana) Harriman's yucca

Yucca intermedia McKelvey Intermediate yucca

Yucca jaliscensis
Yucca jaliscensis
(Trel.) Trel. Izote

Yucca lacandonica Gómez Pompa & J.Valdés Tropical yucca

Yucca linearifolia Clary

Yucca
Yucca
luminosa (syn. Yucca
Yucca
rigida) Blue yucca

Yucca madrensis Gentry Soco yucca

Yucca mixtecana García-Mend.

Yucca necopina Shinners

Yucca neomexicana Wooton & Standl. New Mexican Spanish bayonet

Yucca pallida
Yucca pallida
McKelvey Pale yucca

Yucca periculosa Baker Izote

Yucca potosina Rzed.

Yucca queretaroensis Piña Luján

Yucca reverchonii
Yucca reverchonii
Trel.

Yucca rostrata
Yucca rostrata
Engelm. ex Trel. Beaked yucca, Big Bend yucca

Yucca rupicola
Yucca rupicola
Scheele Texas
Texas
yucca, or twist-leaf yucca

Yucca schidigera Roezl ex Ortgies Mojave yucca

Yucca
Yucca
× schottii Hoary yucca or mountain yucca

Yucca sterilis (Neese & S.L.Welsh) S.L.Welsh & L.C.Higgins

Yucca tenuistyla Trel.

Yucca thompsoniana Trel. Thompson's yucca

Yucca treculeana Carrière Texas
Texas
bayonet, Trecul's yucca

Yucca utahensis McKelvey

Yucca valida Brandegee Datilillo

A number of other species previously classified in Yucca
Yucca
are now classified in the genera Dasylirion , Furcraea
Furcraea
, Hesperaloe , Hesperoyucca , and Nolina .

TAXONOMIC ARRANGEMENT

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* Section Yucca
Yucca
formerly Sarcocarpa Engelm.

* Series Faxonianae Hochstätter

* Yucca carnerosana (Trel. ) McKelvey * Yucca faxoniana (Trel.) Sarg.

* Series Baccatae Hochstätter

* Yucca baccata Torr.

* Yucca baccata Torr. ssp. baccata * Yucca baccata Torr. ssp. vespertina (McKelvey) Hochstätter * Yucca baccata Torr. ssp. thornberi (McKelvey) Hochstätter

* Yucca
Yucca
confinis McKelvey * Yucca endlichiana Trel. * Yucca
Yucca
arizonica McKelvey

* Series Treculianae Hochstätter

* Yucca grandiflora Gentry * Yucca declinata Laferr. * Yucca
Yucca
treculiana Carriere * Yucca
Yucca
torreyi Shafer * Yucca
Yucca
schidgera Roezl ex Ortgies * Yucca
Yucca
schotti Engelm. * Yucca capensis Lenz * Yucca jaliscensis
Yucca jaliscensis
Trel. * Yucca periculosa Baker * Yucca mixtecana Garcia-Mend. * Yucca decipiens
Yucca decipiens
Trel. * Yucca valida Brandegee * Yucca potosina Rzed. * Yucca filifera Chabaud

* Series Gloriosae Hochstätter

* Yucca gloriosa
Yucca gloriosa
L. * Yucca recurvifolia Salisb.

* Series Yucca
Yucca

* Yucca madrensis Gentry * Yucca linearifolia Clary * Yucca
Yucca
elephantipes Regel * Yucca lacandonica Gomez-Pompa & Valdes * Yucca aloifolia
Yucca aloifolia
L. * Yucca
Yucca
yucatana Engelm.

* Section Clistocarpa Engelm.

*

* Yucca brevifolia
Yucca brevifolia
Engelm.)

* Yucca brevifolia
Yucca brevifolia
Engelm. ssp. brevifolia * Yucca brevifolia
Yucca brevifolia
Engelm. ssp. jaegeriana (McKelvey) Hochstätter * Yucca brevifolia
Yucca brevifolia
Engelm. ssp. herbertii (Webber ) Hochstätter

* Section Chaenocarpa Engelm.

* Series Filamentosae Hochstätter

* Yucca filamentosa
Yucca filamentosa
L.

* Yucca filamentosa
Yucca filamentosa
L. ssp. filamentosa * Yucca filamentosa
Yucca filamentosa
L. ssp. smalliana (Fernald ) Hochstätter * Yucca filamentosa
Yucca filamentosa
L. ssp. concava (Haw. ) Hochstätter

* Yucca flaccida
Yucca flaccida
Haw.

* Series Rupicolae Hochstätter

* Yucca cernua Keith * Yucca pallida
Yucca pallida
McKelvey * Yucca queretaroensis Pina Lujan * Yucca reverchonii
Yucca reverchonii
Trel. * Yucca
Yucca
rigida (Engelm.) Trel. * Yucca rostrata
Yucca rostrata
Engelm. ex Trel. * Yucca rupicola
Yucca rupicola
Scheele * Yucca thompsoniana Trel.

* Series Harrimaniae Hochstätter

* Yucca harrimaniae Trel.

* Yucca harrimaniae Trel. ssp. harrimaniae * Yucca harrimaniae Trel. ssp. neomexicana (Wooton & Standl. ) Hochstätter * Yucca harrimaniae Trel. ssp. sterilis (Neese & Welsh) Hochstätter * Yucca harrimaniae Trel. ssp. gilbertiana (Trel.) Hochstätter

* Yucca
Yucca
nana Hochstätter

* Series Glaucae (McKelvey) Hochstätter

* Yucca angustissima Engelm. ex Trel.

* Yucca angustissima Engelm. ex Trel. ssp. angustissima * Yucca angustissima Engelm. ex Trel. ssp. toftiae (Welsh ) Hochstätter * Yucca angustissima Engelm. ex Trel. ssp. kanabensis (McKelvey) Hochstätter * Yucca angustissima Engelm. ex Trel. ssp. avia (Reveal ) Hochstätter

* Yucca baileyi
Yucca baileyi
Wooton & Standl.

* Yucca baileyi
Yucca baileyi
Wooton & Standl. ssp. baileyi * Yucca baileyi
Yucca baileyi
Wooton & Standl. ssp. intermedia (McKelvey) Hochstätter

* Yucca coahuilensis Matuda & Pinja Lujan

* Yucca elata Engelm.

* Yucca elata Engelm. ssp. elata * Yucca elata Engelm. ssp. utahensis (McKelvey) Hochstätter * Yucca elata Engelm. ssp. verdiensis (McKelvey) Hochstätter

* Yucca glauca Nutt.

* Yucca glauca Nutt. ssp. glauca * Yucca glauca Nutt. ssp. stricta (Sims ) Hochstätter * Yucca glauca Nutt. ssp. albertana Hochstätter

* Yucca campestris McKelvey * Yucca constricta Buckley

* Yucca arkansana Trel.

* Yucca arkansana Trel. ssp. arkansana * Yucca arkansana Trel. ssp. louisianensis (Trel.) Hochstätter * Yucca arkansana Trel. ssp. freemanni (Shinners ) Hochstätter

* Section Hesperoyucca Engelm.

* (Treated as a separate genus Hesperoyucca by some sources.)

* Yucca
Yucca
whipplei Torr.

* Yucca
Yucca
whipplei Torr. ssp. whipplei * Yucca
Yucca
whipplei Torr. ssp. caespitosa (Jones ) Haines * Yucca
Yucca
whipplei Torr. ssp. intermedia Haines * Yucca
Yucca
whipplei Torr. ssp. percursa Haines * Yucca
Yucca
whipplei Torr. ssp. newberryi (McKelvey) Hochstätter * Yucca
Yucca
whipplei Torr. ssp. eremica Epling ">

Joshua trees ( Yucca brevifolia
Yucca brevifolia
), growing in the Mojave Desert
Desert
*

Unknown species near Orosí
Orosí
, Costa Rica
Costa Rica
*

Yucca
Yucca
near Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico
Mexico
*

Yucca harrimaniae also known as Harriman's yucca *

Yucca faxoniana in Texas, with mature fruits *

Yucca schidigera in Nevada, in full bloom

REFERENCES

* ^ " Yucca
Yucca
L". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2010-06-07. * ^ Chase, M.W.; Reveal, J.L. & Fay, M.F. (2009), "A subfamilial classification for the expanded asparagalean families Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae
Asparagaceae
and Xanthorrhoeaceae", Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 161 (2): 132–136, doi :10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00999.x * ^ Irish, Gary (2000). Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants: a Gardener\'s Guide. Timber Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-88192-442-8 . * ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. 4 R-Z. Taylor & Francis US. p. 2862. ISBN 978-0-8493-2678-3 . * ^ Winslow, Chris (January 18, 2012). "Yuccas: \'Ghosts in the Graveyard\'". Hays Free Press (Hays County, Texas) (Vol. 109, No. 41). Hays County, Texas: Barton Publications, Inc. p. 1C. Retrieved 5 February 2015. Another more evocative name for them is 'ghosts in the graveyard.' This comes from the high number of yuccas growing wild in forgotten graveyards, where their large white flower clusters appear as 'ghosts' in the moonlight. * ^ SEGRAVES, KARI A.; ALTHOFF, DAVID M.; PELLMYR, OLLE (1 October 2008). "The evolutionary ecology of cheating: does superficial oviposition facilitate the evolution of a cheater yucca moth?". Ecological Entomology. 33 (6): 765–770. doi :10.1111/j.1365-2311.2008.01031.x . * ^ Daniels, Jaret C. " Yucca
Yucca
Giant-Skipper Butterfly, Megathymus yuccae (Boisduval & Leconte) (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae)". Electronic Data Information Source. University of Florida IFAS Extension. Retrieved 2010-06-07. * ^ "Ursine Giant-Skipper Megathymus ursus Poling, 1902". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Retrieved 2010-06-07. * ^ "Strecker\'s Giant-Skipper Megathymus streckeri (Skinner, 1895)". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Retrieved 2010-06-07. * ^ Couplan, François (1998). The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America. McGraw Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-87983-821-8 . * ^ Baugh, Dick (1999). "the Miracle of Fire by Friction". In David Wescott. Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills (10 ed.). pp. 32–33. ISBN 978-0-87905-911-8 . * ^ A B RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964 . * ^ World Checklist of Selected Plant
Plant
Families, The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
, retrieved 2012-02-23 , search for "Yucca"

General

* Fritz Hochstätter (Hrsg.): Yucca
Yucca
(Agavaceae). Band 1 Dehiscent-fruited species in the Southwest and Midwest of the USA, Canada
Canada
and Baja California
Baja California
, Selbst Verlag, 2000. ISBN 3-00-005946-6 * Fritz Hochstätter (Hrsg.): Yucca
Yucca
(Agavaceae). Band 2 Indehiscent-fruited species in the Southwest, Midwest and East of the USA, Selbst Verlag. 2002. ISBN