Yucca plants can be found in hot climates, chiefly in North America, Mexico and parts of the Caribbean. There are many different varieties and they have a tree-like habit that means they can grow very tall. The Pueblo Indians utilise the yucca in food and use the leaves as paintbrushes for decorating native pottery. The Yucca flower is the state flower of New Mexico.
The Yucca is a succulent plant with stiff perennial leaves, which are often dagger shaped. In the wild they can produce large heads of waxy, light coloured flowers, which are pollinated by the Yucca moth. The largest Yucca is the Joshua tree, which can grow as high as 15 metres.
Yuccas can grow in high elevations in the American deserts and are well adapted to cope with cold winters. They grow within communities of juniper, sagebrush, pine and mountain brush.
Yuccas are very popular houseplants as they have distinctive and decorative foliage. They are usually placed alone as a standard. The most common ones for the house are Yucca aloifolia and Yucca elephantipes.
The Yucca belongs to the Agave genus and Liliaceae family. It has between 40 and 50 species and 24 subspecies that are native to humid areas of North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
The Yucca is popular partly because it is so easy to care for. It’s thick stem and fleshy leaves store water for periods of drought and it is extremely tolerant of forgetful owners. The Yucca enjoys partial shade but can cope in partial or full sun. A Yucca will require feeding about once every three to four weeks and only needs watering once a week. It should be allowed to dry out between watering and the leaves should be wiped free of dust once in a while.
Did You Know?
Yucca roots are incredibly useful. They can be pulverised to make shampoo, eaten as a foodstuff if mashed, boiled and drunk as tea and used to reduce inflammation caused by medical problems such as arthritis and rheumatism.