Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Red Yucca: A Paper Producer?

Hesperaloe parviflora

This is the second flowering for one of the Red Yucca plants in my garden. A spring and fall flowering are common, but not all of my plants do this. It seems the ones with the southern exposure are more likely to produce flowers twice a year than those in other locations.

The birds have eaten all the seeds from last season's flowers, so the second flowering will provide more food for them in a few months. In the meantime, I'll have some nice color in my garden.

A few years ago, the University of Arizona began research on the Hesperaloe funifera, or Giant Red Yucca, to see if the long fibers it produced could be used to make strong paper products. The H. funifera is a very close relative of H. parviflora. If the research turned out to be positive, then perhaps it could become a crop plant much like cotton.


verobirdie said...

A beautiful yucca. I've never seen red ones!

nikkipolani said...

What an unusual display! I have never seen red yucca in flower. Are those stems really as purple as they appear in your photo?

No Rain said...

Red Yucca is really a misnomer, as this plant is not really yucca. It is sometimes called False Red Yucca, which is more accurate. It is related to the yucca, though.

Yesterday when I took this photo it was cloudy, so the color seems brighter. When the stems and flowers are first coming out as in this photo, they are definitely darker, more intense red than when mature. In the link I provided, the photos are from a sunny day. The stems are already dried in that photo and the flowers beyond their peak, so you can see what they look like most of the time.

Julie said...

WOW...I have a small one of these, I think! It came in a multiple grouping of small plants, and it has those little hairy looking tendrils on it. I had not tried to find out what it was, yet...but this looks like it, only in about a 4 inch specimen!!! It is actually, very beautiful, isn't it???

No Rain said...

The little curly hairs are characteristic of this species, even at the size you describe.