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Plants of the UNF Campus

Yucca recurvifolia - Soft-leaf yucca
Family Agavaceae


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.

Care Instructions:

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, dry spot.