Yucca filamentosa is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae native to the southeastern United States from southeast Virginia south to Florida, and as far west as south and southeast Texas. They have become naturalized along the coastal plain and beach scrub of the Atlantic Coast north to Long Island Sound and into areas of the lower Midwest. They are normally hardy in USDA hardiness zones of 5 to 9. Most commonly found in sandy soils, especially in beach scrub and dunes, but also in fields, barrens, and rocky slopes, though it grows well also in silt or clay soils. Its common names include Adam's needle, common yucca, Spanish bayonet, bear-grass, needle-palm, silk-grass, and spoon-leaf yucca. The species is also reportedly naturalized in France, Italy and Turkey.
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. Flower stems up to 3 m (10 ft) tall bear masses of pendulous cream flowers in early summer. They are pollinated by the yucca moth Tegeticula yuccasella. Other moth species also use this yucca as a host plant to lay their eggs, such as Tegeticula intermedia.
Y. filamentosa is widely cultivated in mild temperate and subtropical climates as a broadleaved evergreen plant. It needs full sun and a well-drained soil, preferring an acid or slightly alkaline pH range of 5.5 to 7.5. It develops a large, fleshy, white taproot with deep large lateral roots. Once planted and established, it is difficult to remove it as the deep roots keep sending up new shoots for many years. '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.
Other cultivars include:
- 'Golden Sword' - similar to 'Bright Edge', but larger.[clarification needed]
- 'Ivory Tower' - creamy white flowers tinged with green.
- 'Color Guard' - broad yellow stripes all year, plus red stripes in the winter.
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