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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

Fruit - raw or cooked.

Flowers - raw or cooked[2][3][4]. They are delicious raw, and can also be dried, crushed and used as a flavouring[4][5]. Young flowers have been parboiled and eaten, whilst older flowers have been boiled in three lots of water before being eaten[6]. This suggests the flowers are quite bitter[K]. Flowering stem - raw or cooked[7]. It is best used when fully grown, but before the flower buds expand[8]. It can be peeled, cut into sections then cooked and used like asparagus[8][5]. The roasted stems have been dried, ground into a powder then mixed with water to make cakes[6].

Seed - cooked. It can be ground into a powder or cooked and used as a gruel[2][3][7].

Flowers

Fruit

Material uses

A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making ropes, baskets and mats[3][9]. It is fine and white[10].

The leaves are used as paint brushes[10].

The roots are rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute[9].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

There are no medicinal uses listed for Yucca whipplei.

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[11].

Division of suckers in late spring. 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 whipplei. 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[12]. Requires a sunny position[12]. Prefers a hot dry position[13], strongly disliking winter wet[12]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[14]. Plants are hardier when grown on poor sandy soils[14].

Plants are hardy to at least -5°c[14] and tolerate short periods down to -10°c[15]. They grow well in the warmer maritime areas of Britain but need protection from winter rains[16]. Plants have survived to flowering at Kew and at Bodnant in N. Wales[15]. Cultivated as a fibre plant in Mexico[3]. A very ornamental plant[17], it requires late summer and autumn warmth to initiate flowering[12]. The flowers are sweetly scented[15]. Usually monocarpic, living for a number of years without flowering and dying after it does flower[12][5]. Plants do produce suckers, however, and can be propagated by this means[11]. The flowers of most members of this genus 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. This species, however, is self-fertile and does not require the Yucca moth for pollination, setting fruit without hand pollination[12]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[14].

Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[18]

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Yucca whipplei. 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 whipplei.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Yucca whipplei
Genus
Yucca
Family
Agavaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
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
8
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
Shade
partial 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
2 x 1 meters
Fertility
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type











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. ? 2.02.12.2 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.13.23.33.43.5 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.14.2 Coyle. J. and Roberts. N. C. A Field Guide to the Common and Interesting Plants of Baja California. Natural History Publishing Co. (1975-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.15.25.3 Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. (1990-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.16.2 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.17.2 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
  8. ? 8.08.18.2 Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.19.2 Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.110.2 Balls. E. K. Early Uses of Californian Plants. University of California Press ISBN 0-520-00072-2 (1975-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.112.212.312.412.512.6 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  13. ? Taylor. J. The Milder Garden. Dent (1990-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.114.214.314.4 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.115.2 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
  16. ? Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
  17. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  18. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)