Yucca aloifolia

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Spanish bayonet
Yucca aloifolia, cultivated, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Yucca
Y. aloifolia
Binomial name
Yucca aloifolia
  • Dracaena lenneana Regel
  • Sarcoyucca aloifolia (L.) Lindinger
  • Yucca aloifolia var. arcuata (Haw.) Trel.
  • Yucca aloifolia f. arcuata (Haw.) Voss
  • Yucca aloifolia var. conspicua (Haw.) Engelm.
  • Yucca aloifolia f. conspicua (Haw.) Engelm.
  • Yucca aloifolia f. crenulata (Haw.) Voss
  • Yucca aloifolia var. draconis (L.) Engelm.
  • Yucca aloifolia f. draconis (L.) Voss
  • Yucca aloifolia var. flexifolia J.Bommer
  • Yucca aloifolia var. gigantea Sprenger
  • Yucca aloifolia var. marginata J.Bommer
  • Yucca aloifolia var. menandi Trel.
  • Yucca aloifolia var. purpurea Baker
  • Yucca aloifolia var. quadricolor-variegata Carrière
  • Yucca aloifolia var. roseomarginata Regel
  • Yucca aloifolia var. serratifolia Sprenger
  • Yucca aloifolia var. stenophylla J.Bommer
  • Yucca aloifolia var. tenuifolia (Haw.) Trel.
  • Yucca aloifolia f. tenuifolia (Haw.) Voss
  • Yucca aloifolia f. tenuifolia (Haw.) Trel.
  • Yucca aloifolia var. tricolor J.Bommer
  • Yucca aloifolia var. variegata Naudin
  • Yucca aloifolia var. versicolor Carrière
  • Yucca aloifolia var. yucatana (Engelm) Trel.
  • Yucca arcuata Haw.
  • Yucca atkinsii Baker
  • Yucca conspicua Haw.
  • Yucca crenulata Haw.
  • Yucca draconis L.
  • Yucca haruckeriana Crantz
  • Yucca parmentieri Carrière
  • Yucca jacksonii E.J.Whalen
  • Yucca purpurea Baker
  • Yucca quadricolor Baker
  • Yucca serrulata Haw.
  • Yucca striata auct.
  • Yucca tenuifolia Haw.
  • Yucca tricolor Baker
  • Yucca yucatana Engelm.

Yucca aloifolia[4] is the type species for the genus Yucca. Common names include aloe yucca,[5] dagger plant,[6] and Spanish bayonet. It grows in sandy soils, especially on sand dunes along the coast.


Yucca aloifolia is native to the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States from southern Virginia south to Florida and west to the Texas Gulf Coast, to Mexico along the Yucatán coast, and to Bermuda, and parts of the Caribbean. Normally, Yucca aloifolia is grown in USDA zones 8 through 11. It is a popular landscape plant in beach areas along the lower East Coast from Virginia to Florida.

Yucca aloifolia has become naturalized in Bahamas, Argentina, Uruguay, Italy, Pakistan, South Africa, Queensland, New South Wales, and Mauritania. It is common in gardens and parks of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain).[7]


Yucca aloifolia has an erect trunk, 3–5 in (7.6–12.7 cm) in diameter, reaching up to 5–20 ft (1.5–6.1 m) tall before it becomes top heavy and topples over. When this occurs, the tip turns upward and keeps on growing. The trunk is armed with sharp pointed straplike leaves with fine-toothed edges, each about 2 ft (0.61 m) long. The young leaves near the growing tip stand erect; older ones are reflexed downward, and the oldest wither and turn brown, hanging around the lower trunk like a Hawaiian skirt. Eventually the tip of the trunk develops a 2 ft (0.61 m) long spike of white, purplish-tinged flowers, each blossom about 4 in (12.7 cm) across. After flowering, the trunk stops growing, but one or more lateral buds are soon formed, and the uppermost becomes a new terminal shoot. Yucca aloifolia also produces new buds, or offshoots, near the base of the trunk, forming the typical thicket often observed in dry sandy and scrub beach areas of the southeastern United States.[6][8][9][10][11][12]

Yucca aloifolia flowers are white and showy, sometimes tinged purplish, so that the plant is popular as an ornamental. Fruits are elongated, fleshy, up to 5 cm long. It is widely planted in hot climates and arid environments.[6][13][14][15][16][17]


The fruit is eaten by both birds and humans, and the flowers can be eaten cooked or raw.[18]

Yucca aloifolia's roots can be used as soap and shampoo.[19]



  1. ^ Solano, E.; Puente, R.; Ayala-Hernández, M.M.; Hodgson, W.; Clary, K.; Salywon, A. (2021). "Yucca aloifolia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021: e.T117422548A117469927. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-1.RLTS.T117422548A117469927.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ Tropicos
  3. ^ The Plant List
  4. ^ Linnaeus, Species Plantarum 1: 319. 1753.
  5. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Yucca aloifolia". The PLANTS Database (plants.usda.gov). Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Flora of North America vol. 26, p. 429. 2006.
  7. ^ López, Ginés (2007). Guía de los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica y Baleares, 3rd edition (in Spanish).
  8. ^ CONABIO. 2009. Catálogo taxonómico de especies de México. 1. In Capital Nat. México. CONABIO, Mexico City.
  9. ^ ORSTOM. 1988. List of Vascular Plants of Gabon with Synonymy, Herbier National du Gabon, Yaounde
  10. ^ Nanwal, H, M Hameed, T Nawaz, MSA Ahmad, A Younis. 2012. Structural adaptations for adaptability in some exotic and naturalized species of Agavaceae. Pakistani Journal of Botany 44 (special issue):129.134.
  11. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Yucca aloifolia
  12. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Jucca
  13. ^ Davidse, G., M. Sousa Sánchez & A.O. Chater. 1994. Alismataceae a Cyperaceae. 6: i–xvi, 1–543. In G. Davidse, M. Sousa Sánchez & A.O. Chater (eds.) Flora Mesoamericana. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D. F.
  14. ^ Whalen, E.E. 1902. Killarney Gardening Newsletter 14(May):19-23
  15. ^ Wunderlin, R. P. 1998. Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida i–x, 1–806. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
  16. ^ Radford, A. E., H. E. Ahles & C. R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas i–lxi, 1–1183. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.
  17. ^ Long, R. W. & O. K. Lakela. 1971. Flora of Tropical Florida: A Manual of the Seed Plants and Ferns of Southern Peninsular Florida i–xvii, 1–962. University of Miami Press, Coral Cables
  18. ^ Little, Elbert L. (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. p. 317. ISBN 0-394-50760-6.
  19. ^ "Useful Plants | Practical Survivor".

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