Yucca filamentosa

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Adam's needle or silk-grass
Yukka filamentosa.jpg

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Yucca
Species: Y. filamentosa
Binomial name
Yucca filamentosa

Yucca filamentosa[1] is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae[2] native to the southeastern United States as far west as Louisiana and as far north as Delaware and West Virginia.[3] Its common names include Adam's needle, common yucca, Spanish bayonet,[4] bear-grass, needle-palm, silk-grass, and spoon-leaf yucca.[5] The species is also reportedly naturalized in France, Italy and Turkey.[6]


Yucca filamentosa, flowers close up

Usually trunkless, it is a multisuckering evergreen shrub with heads of 75 cm (30 in) long, filamentous, blue-green, strappy leaves. It is fully hardy, though in cultivation it benefits from a sheltered position away from winter winds. Y. filamentosa is readily distinguished from other yucca species by white, thready filaments along the leaf margins.[7] Flower stems up to 3 m (10 ft) tall bear masses of pendulous cream flowers in early summer.[3] They are pollinated by the yucca moth Tegeticula yuccasella.[8][9]

Y. filamentosa is closely related to Yucca flaccida and it is possible they should be classified as a single species.[3]


Y. filamentosa is widely cultivated in mild temperate and subtropical climates as a broadleaved evergreen plant. 'Bright Edge', a dwarf cultivar with yellow-margined foliage and creamy flowers tinged with green, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[10]

Other cultivars include:

  • 'Golden Sword' - similar to 'Bright Edge', but larger.
  • 'Ivory Tower' - creamy white flowers tinged with green.
  • 'Color Guard' - broad yellow stripes all year, plus red stripes in the winter.

Other uses[edit]

The leaves, stems and roots of this plant can be used to stun fish.[11] The Cherokee used it for this purpose.[12]


  1. ^ Linnaeus, Species Plantarum 1: 319. 1753.
  2. ^ Yucca filamentosa. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
  3. ^ a b c "Yucca filamentosa". Flora of North America. 
  4. ^ Yucca filamentosa. NatureServe. 2012.
  5. ^ Yucca filamentosa. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
  6. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  7. ^ The Reader's Digest Gardeners' Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers. Reader's Digest Association. Sydney. 1999.
  8. ^ Marr, D. L., et al. (2000). Pollen dispersal in Yucca filamentosa (Agavaceae): the paradox of self-pollination behavior by Tegeticula yuccasella (Prodoxidae). American Journal of Botany 87(5), 670-77.
  9. ^ Wunderlin, R. P. 1998. Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida i–x, 1–806. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
  10. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Yucca filamentosa 'Bright Edge'". Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Duffy, K. (2004). Harvesting Nature's Bounty, Second Edition. City: Bookman Pub. ISBN 1-59453-294-X. 
  12. ^ Yucca filamentosa. Native American Ethnobotany. University of Michigan, Dearborn.

External links[edit]