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Toxic parts

The roots contain saponins[1]. Whilst saponins are quite toxic to people, they are poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass straight through. They are also destroyed by prolonged heat, such as slow baking in an oven. Saponins are found in many common foods such as beans[K]. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].

Edible uses


Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit is up to 10cm long and 26mm wide[2]. The fruit is very rarely produced in the wild[3].

Flowers - raw or cooked. They are delicious raw, and can also be dried, crushed and used as a flavouring[4]. Flowering stem - cooked and used like asparagus[4].

Root - cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and made into a bread[5].



Material uses

A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making cloth, ropes, baskets and mats[6][7][3][8]. The roots are rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute[3].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The fruit is purgative[9]. The root is detergent[9].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. Pre-soaking the seed for 24 hours in warm water may reduce the germination time. It usually germinates within 1 - 12 months if kept at a temperature of 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and consider giving them some winter protection for at least their first winter outdoors - a simple pane of glass is usually sufficient[K]. Seed is not produced in Britain unless the flowers are hand pollinated.

Root cuttings in late winter or early spring. Lift in April/May and remove small buds from base of stem and rhizomes. Dip in dry wood ashes to stop any bleeding and plant in a sandy soil in pots in a greenhouse until established[10].

Cuttings can be made of the tops of old plants. These normally root quite easily in the growing season[11].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Yucca gloriosa. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Thrives in any soil but prefers a sandy loam and full exposure to the south[11]. Plants are hardier when grown on poor sandy soils[12]. Established plants are very drought resistant[13]. Judging by its native habitat, this plant should tolerate maritime exposure[K].

Very cold hardy, tolerating temperatures down to at least -15°c[12], or to -25°c according to another report[14], but plants are subject to injury and decay by winter damp and snow[11]. A very ornamental plant[15], there are some named varieties[14]. Plants do not flower every year, requiring hot summers to initiate flowering[13]. The flowers are produced in the autumn and are often damaged by early frosts[16]. The scent of the flowers is most pronounced at night[17]. In the plants native environment, its flowers can only be pollinated by a certain species of moth. This moth cannot live in Britain and, if fruit and seed is required, hand pollination is necessary. This can be quite easily and successfully done using something like a small paint brush. Individual crowns are monocarpic, dying after flowering[16]. However, the crown will usually produce a number of sideshoots before it dies and these will grow on to flower in later years[16]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[12].

Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[16]


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Yucca gloriosa. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Yucca gloriosa.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Yucca gloriosa
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
  3. ? Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
  4. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. (1990-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden. ()
  9. ? Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
  10. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  11. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  12. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Chatto. B. The Dry Garden. Dent ISBN 0460045512 (1982-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
  15. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  16. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
  17. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
  18. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-72

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