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For the potato-like vegetable, see yuca.

Yucca filamentosa in New Zealand
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Asparagales
Family: Agavaceae
Genus: Yucca

many, see text

The yuccas comprise the genus Yucca of 40-50 species of perennials, shrubs, and trees in the agave family Agavaceae, notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal clusters of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry parts of North America, Central America, and the West Indies.

Yuccas have a very specialized pollination system, being pollinated by the yucca moth; 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 eats some of the developing seeds, but far from all.

Yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Many yuccas also bear edible parts, including fruits, seeds, flowers, flowering stems, and more rarely roots, but use of these is sufficiently limited that references to yucca as food more often than not stem from confusion with the similarly spelled but botanically unrelated yuca.

Dried yucca wood has the lowest ignition temperature of any other wood, making it one of the more desirable woods for fire-starting.

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



Yucca aloifolia Aloe yucca, Spanish Bayonet
Yucca brevifolia Joshua tree
Yucca constricta Buckley's yucca
Yucca baccata Banana yucca, datil
Yucca decipiens Palma China
Yucca elata Soaptree yucca
Yucca filamentosa Spoonleaf yucca or Filament yucca
Yucca filifera Palma Chuna yucca
Yucca flaccida Flaccid leaf yucca
Yucca glauca Great Plains yucca
Yucca gloriosa Moundlily yucca, Adam's needle, Spanish Dagger
Yucca grandiflora Sahuiliqui yucca
Yucca harrimaniae Harriman's yucca
Yucca intermedia Intermediate Yucca
Yucca jaliscensis Izote
Yucca kanabensis Kanab yucca
Yucca lacandonica Tropical yucca
Yucca madrensis Soco yucca
Yucca nana Dwarf yucca
Yucca pallida Pale yucca
Yucca periculosa Izote
Yucca recurvifolia Curve-leaf yucca
Yucca rigida Blue yucca
Yucca rostrata Big Bend yucca
Yucca rupicola Texas yucca, or Twist-leaf yucca
Yucca schidigera Mojave yucca
Yucca schottii Hoary yucca or Mountain yucca
Yucca standleyi
Yucca thompsoniana Thompson's Yucca
Yucca thornberi
Yucca torreyi Torrey yucca
Yucca treculiana Texas bayonette, Trecul's yucca
Yucca valida Datilillo
Yucca yucatana Yucatan yucca

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


In the years from 1897 to 1907, Carl Ludwig Sprenger created and named 122 Yucca hybrids.

Other facts

Because of their omnipresence in the southwestern United States, yuccas have lent their name to several places:

  • Yucca, Arizona
  • Yucca Valley, California
  • Yucca Mountain, Nevada
  • Yucca House National Monument

Yuccas are poisonous to rabbits.


  • M. & G. Irish, Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants: a Gardener's Guide (Timber Press, 2000). ISBN 0-88192-442-3
  • Common names of yucca species
  • UVSC Herbarium - Yucca
  • New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules: State Flower


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Yucca". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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