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YUCCA baccata

Image of Yucca baccata

Forest & Kim Starr

Family

Agavaceae

Botanical Name

YUCCA baccata

Plant Common Name

Banana Yucca

General Description

The beautiful banana yucca is tough as nails. This true desert yucca is native to the sizzling badlands of southern California, Nevada, Colorado and Texas where it takes both heat and cold in stride. It is a suckering plant that develops short, trunk-like stems and produces many offsets to create large colonies. Wild populations are most commonly found in dry grasslands.

Banana Yucca has unique panicles of flowers that appear in late spring or early summer. The tall flower stalks become lined with bronze-colored buds that open to ivory. The bell-shaped flowers are pollinated at night by a single species of pronuba moth. The blooms are followed by green seed capsules that turn dry and dark brown when mature. The flowers and fruits are both edible. In fact, the fruits are still roasted and eaten by Native American tribe's people in the southwest and are said to taste like sweet potato. Native Americans also derive soap from this yucca’s roots and use its leaf fibers for basketry.

Full sun and well-drained, average to poor, sandy soil are best for this desert Yucca. It is ideal for dry western landscapes where it will thrive under the harshest of arid conditions. Its asymmetrical growth and sharp appearance make a bold statement in the landscape. The fruits are great for foraging deer and birds.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4'-30' / 1.2m - 9.1m

  • Width

    6'-15' / 1.8m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Southwestern United States, California

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Very Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Bronze, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Chocolate

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Gray Green, Light Yellow

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Light Green, Gray Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Groundcover, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes