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Uses

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

Notes

Fully ripe fruit - raw, cooked or dried for winter use[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]. A staple food for several native North American Indian tribes, the fruits are large, fleshy, sweet and palatable[9][6][10][11]. The ovoid fruit is about 17cm long and 7cm wide[12]. Considered to be a luxury by the native North American Indians[13], the fruits were often baked in ovens[14]. The cooked fruit can be formed into cakes and then dried for later use[8]. Large quantities of the fruit has caused diarrhoea in people who are not used to it[9]. The dried fruit can be dissolved in water to make a drink[8].

Flower buds - cooked[3][5][10][11]. A soapy taste[9]. The older flowers are best[9], they are rich in sugar[7]. The flowers, harvested before the summer rains (which turn them bitter), have been used as a vegetable[8]. Flowering stems - cooked[8]. Harvested before the flowers open then roasted[8]. Seed - cooked. It can be roasted and then ground into a powder and boiled[5][9]. The tender crowns of the plants have been roasted and eaten in times of food shortage[8].

The young leaves have been cooked as a flavouring in soups[8].

Flowers

Fruit

Leaves

Material uses

A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making ropes, baskets and mats[15][16][17][9][6][7][10]. The fibre can be braided into a good quality rope[8].

The leaves can be reduced into fibre and then made into cloth[8]. To obtain the fibre, the terminal spine and a section of the back of the leaf are removed and pounded to free the fibre from the fleshy portion of the leaf[8]. Another method of obtaining the fibre was to fold the leaves into sections about 10cm long. The leaves were then boiled with a small quantity of cedar ashes. When sufficiently cooked, the leaves were placed in a bowl or basket and cooled, then youths and young women would peel off the epidermis and chew the leaves, starting at one end and finishing at the other. After chewing the leaves, the fibres were separated, straightened out and hung to dry. When required for weaving, they would first be soaked in water to soften them[8]. The whole leaf is sometimes split into sections and then tied together by square knots to make a rope[6][8]. The leaf can be used as a paint brush[6]. Leaf slivers are used, the end being pounded to reveal the fibres[8]. The leaves have also been used to make small brushes for pottery decoration[8]. The leaf is used in basket making[14][8]. Small roots have been used in making baskets[8]. They have been used to produce a red pattern in baskets[8]. The leaves can be split and then woven into mats[8]. The leaves can be split and used as a temporary string[8]. The leaf fibre has been braided into ropes[8]. The terminal spines have been used as needles[8]. The dried leaves have been boiled with gum, hardened, ground into a powder then mixed with water and used to make baskets waterproof[8].

The roots are rich in saponins and can be used crushed and then soaked in water to release the suds for use as a soap[15][9][10][14][8]. It makes a good hair wash[9][7][8] and can also be used on the body and for washing clothes[8]. A soap can also be obtained from the leaves and stems[8].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

An infusion of the pulverized leaves has been used as an antiemetic to prevent vomiting[8]. The fruits have been eaten raw as a laxative[8].

Unknown part

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

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[18].

Division of suckers in late spring[4]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the following spring.

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



Cultivation

Thrives in any soil but prefers a sandy loam and full exposure to the south[19]. Plants are hardier when grown on poor sandy soils[12]. Prefers a hot dry position[20], disliking heavy rain[4]. Established plants are very drought resistant[19].

Only hardy in the milder areas of Britain[4][12]. Another report says that plants are hardy to at least -30°c[21]. A plant at Kew (1992) has survived the last 3 winters outdoors[K]. This plant is still thriving in 1999, though it has not grown much and has not flowered[K]. Another plant is thriving in an open sunny position at Cambridge Botanical Gardens and must have experienced temperatures of at least -10°c, probably somewhat lower[K]. 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[22]. However, the crown will usually produce a number of sideshoots before it dies and these will grow on to flower in later years[22]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[12].

Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[22]

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Yucca baccata. 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 baccata.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Yucca baccata
Genus
Yucca
Family
Agavaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
7
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
  • Strong wind
Ecosystems
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.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Fertility
?
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type

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"image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


"image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki."image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki."image:Yucca baccata 2.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.






References

  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 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.13.2 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.4 Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-5531-7 (1972-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.15.25.3 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.46.56.6 Balls. E. K. Early Uses of Californian Plants. University of California Press ISBN 0-520-00072-2 (1975-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.47.5 Sweet. M. Common Edible and Useful Plants of the West. Naturegraph Co. ISBN 0-911010-54-8 (1962-00-00)
  8. ? 8.008.018.028.038.048.058.068.078.088.098.108.118.128.138.148.158.168.178.188.198.208.218.228.238.248.258.268.278.288.298.308.31 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.49.59.69.79.89.9 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.410.5 Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.111.2 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.112.212.312.412.5 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers. Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2624-6 (1993-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.114.214.314.4 Whiting. A. F. Ethnobotany of the Hopi North Arizona Society of Science and Art (1939-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.115.2 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  17. ? 17.017.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
  18. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  19. ? 19.019.1 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  20. ? Taylor. J. The Milder Garden. Dent (1990-00-00)
  21. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. (1990-00-00)
  22. ? 22.022.122.2 Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
  23. ? Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)

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