Approximately twenty to thirty species of Yucca are found in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
They range from relatively small, trunkless plants to tall, branched trees. The
soft-leaf yucca is native to the southeastern United States, reportedly from Georgia to Louisiana. Some have
suggested that this may be a natural hybrid. Leaves are two to three feet long,
and are arranged in a rosette at the top of the stem. Flower spikes may reach five
feet above the foliage. Pollination of the white flowers is unusual. A small
white moth, the yucca moth, collects pollen and pushes it into a special
receptacle in the flower ensuring fertilization and the production of seeds. The
moth will lay eggs on the developing seed capsule. Its larvae eat part of the capsule
but leave some seeds so the plant can reproduce. The moth’s larvae feed on
nothing but yucca seed capsules.
Flowers and fruits of some yucca species are eaten. (This is
not the yuca of Caribbean cuisine.) Roots of
some species are used in the manufacturing of soap.
See this plant in the planter in OutTakes Plaza.
Medium-sized shrub to about five feet or more, often a single, unbranched stem.
Light: full sun to part shade
Water: very drought tolerant once established, does not survive in wet sites
Soil: well-drained, low fertility, wide pH tolerance, no special requirements
Soft-leaf yucca is an attractive specimen plant for a sunny,
Copyright © 2014 University of North Florida1 UNF Drive | Jacksonville, FL 32224 | Phone: (904) 620-1000