Tony Tomeo

P71022+Yuccas are almost as useful as aloes are for gardening in chaparral or desert climates. I say ‘almost’ because most are not quite as friendly. The leaves are outfitted with nastily sharp tips. It is how they protect themselves from grazing animals in the wild, but it is not such an advantage in home gardens. Some actually have the potential to be dangerous where someone could bump into them. The leaves of Joshua tree can puncture leather. Some types of yucca get so big that they make it difficult to avoid their nasty leaves, even if planted in the background.

That being said, for those of us who do not need to worry about endangering children, dogs or anyone else out in our gardens, yuccas are very distinctive and handsome plants. Their striking foliage radiates outward from dense foliar rosettes. Large spikes of creamy white flowers that bloom in summer…

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8 thoughts on “Yuccas

    1. Oh yes, especially for gardens in desert and chaparral climates (although some are tropical). They really should be more popular here than they are. I noticed that they were quite popular in New Mexico.

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    1. Rusty? All Yucca bloom white, although many are blushed with brownish green on the exterior. That may be what looks rusty. Such rustiness would be more prominent prior to bloom. We ate the unbloomed floral spikes of Yucca whipplei as asparagus while in college. They were bluish green, or perhaps sort of brownish. There are about fifty species of yucca.

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      1. Oh, yes, that is normal for some to be blushed with rusty green, pink or brown prior to bloom. (They should not be susceptible to the disease.) The blooms that we ate in college were the biggest bloom of all the yucca species, and were not very good. Actually, they were rather . . . less than good; but the price was right. They grow wild in the region, and we really do not want them tossing more seed in some of the landscapes that they migrated into. Collecting the shoots was an adventure that I would not recommend to others. The undeveloped floral stalks of any Yucca are edible, but most are not worth the bother. Some are not much bigger than a single asparagus shoot, so that several must be collected. Collecting just one from one of the spiky Yuccas is challenging. Collecting several is just too much work. Besides, it deprives the Yucca of their delightful bloom. Yucca whipplei blooms spectacularly if it gets the chance. Alternatively, the blossoms are edible too. However, most lack flavor, and those with more flavor are not necessarily good. I just eat them because they happen to be here, and because I happen to be very fond of Yucca. The banana yucca produces edible fruit in warm climates. Other species produce edible roots in more tropical climates.

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