Friday, December 14, 2007

Spanish Dagger

Yucca recurvifolia

Yucca recurvifolia, commonly called Spanish Dagger or Weeping Yucca, originated in the Southeastern United States where it is abundant. It will grow in our desert areas, but I’ve found that it really can’t take our extreme summers and still look good. This plant is located near a front walkway, with a full southern exposure. Every year, the Y. recurvifolia leaves burn and the only way to make the plant look decent is to cut off the burned leaves in the fall, something that I do, but reluctantly. I don’t like the butchered look, but I dislike the burned look even more.

There are about 40 species within the Yucca genus, which is part of the Agavaceae family. Yuccas can bloom year after year and not die, as most Agave species do. The cream-colored flowers do not appear until the plant is quite mature. They are held on a stem in branching clusters, called a panicle. In order for the plant to bear fruit, the flowers need pollination by the yucca moth, a process that is quite interesting. This site gives an in depth explanation of that whole process.

The Y. recurvifolia shown here may well be a Y. gloriosa. It is hard to tell because these plants are often mislabeled. Sometimes, they are hybrids. I don’t think there’s a way of knowing for sure—unless one is a Yucca aficionado. That, I’m not.


Yolanda Elizabet said...

Ah yes, our green friends the Yucca's. They live over here too but mainly inside. Mine I put outside in Spring and it comes back inside when frost threatens. It seems to like it here as it is growing like mad. Soon it won't fit my conservatory any more (too high) and I'll have to find a good home for it.

kate said...

This is a popular houseplant here. I had one many years ago and managed to water it to death.