Yucca

YuccaYucca — The yuccas comprise the genus Yucca of 40-50 species of perennials, shrubs, and trees in the agave family Agavaceae, notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal clusters of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry parts of North America, Central America, and the West Indies.

Yuccas have a very specialized pollination system, being pollinated by the yucca moth; the insect purposefully transfers the pollen from the stamens of one plant to the stigma of another, and at the same time lays an egg in the flower; the moth larva then eats some of the developing seeds, but far from all.

Yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Many yuccas also bear edible parts, including fruits, seeds, flowers, flowering stems, and more rarely roots, but use of these is sufficiently limited that references to yucca as food more often than not stem from confusion with the similarly spelled but botanically unrelated yuca.

Dried yucca wood has the lowest ignition temperature of any other wood, making it one of the more desirable woods for fire-starting.

The “yucca flower” is the state flower of New Mexico.

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