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Yucca brevifolia

Higher Taxonomy
Family: AgavaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb, shrub, tree, fibrous succulent or not, from bulbs or rhizomes. Stem: above ground or not, branched or not. Leaf: simple, deciduous or not, basal or in terminal rosettes, generally sessile, linear, lanceolate, oblanceolate or ovate, fibrous or not, thin and flexible or thick and rigid or succulent; margin entire, fine-serrate, dentate, or with filaments, tips rigid or flexible, with a spine or not. Flower: bisexual; perianth parts 6, in 2 petal-like whorls, free or +- fused; stamens 6, +- fused to perianth, filaments often wide, succulent; ovary superior or inferior, chambers 3, style 1 (thick, poorly defined), stigma head-like or 3-lobed. Fruit: capsule, indehiscent, loculicidal, or septicidal. Seed: few to many, +- flat or ovoid, generally black.
Genera In Family: 23 genera, 637 species: worldwide.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dale W. McNeal, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Dale W. McNeal, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: YuccaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Shrub- or tree-like, generally branched from woody caudex, occasionally dying after fruiting. Leaf: rosette basal or at branch tips, 2--15 dm, linear, thick, +- rigid, stout-spine-tipped, bases +- expanded, margins generally curved up, entire or dentate, often fibrous-shredding. Inflorescence: panicle [raceme], erect (pendent), dense; peduncle generally < 2 cm wide; bracts generally ascending. Flower: generally pendent, 3--13 cm; perianth parts 6 in 2 whorls, generally +- fused, +- white, fleshy, waxy; stamens 6, filaments +- thick, fleshy; ovary superior, 3(6)-chambered, generally green, style short, often thick, poorly defined, stigmas 3-lobed, white to pale green. Fruit: berry-like or generally capsule, erect or pendent, tardily septicidal or generally indehiscent. Seed: +- many in 2 rows per chamber, often flat, black.
Species In Genus: +- 40 species: eastern coastal plain, southeastern, sc, & especially dry southwestern North America; northern, central-western Mexico, northern Central America. Etymology: (Haitian: yuca or manihot, because young inflorescences occasionally roasted for food) Note: Pollinated at night by small moths while laying eggs in ovary. Yucca whipplei moved to Hesperoyucca.
eFlora Treatment Author: William J. Hess

Yucca brevifolia Engelm.
Habit: Plant 1--15 m. Stem: erect, above ground, generally branched above, rosettes at tips, well above ground. Leaf: 15--35 cm, 0.7--1.5 cm wide, dark green, expanded base 2--4 cm, 4--5 cm wide, +- white, margins minute-serrate, yellow. Inflorescence: 3--5 dm, distal generally +- 1/2 exserted from rosettes. Flower: erect; perianth 4--7 cm, +- bell-shaped, parts lanceolate to oblong, +- fused at base, cream to +- green; filaments thick; pistil +- 3.5 cm. Fruit: capsule, spreading to erect in age, 6--8.5 cm, ellipsoid, dry, spongy, or leathery in youth.
Ecology: Desert flats, slopes; Elevation: 400--2000 m. Bioregional Distribution: s SNH (e slope), Teh, e SNE, DMoj; Distribution Outside California: to southwestern Utah, western Arizona, southern Nevada. Flowering Time: Apr--May Note: Growth form variable.
Synonyms: Yucca brevifolia var. herbertii (J.M. Webber) Munz; Yucca brevifolia var. jaegeriana McKelvey; Yucca jaegeriana (McKelvey) L.W. Lenz
eFlora Treatment Author: William J. Hess
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botanical illustration including Yucca brevifolia


Citation for this treatment: William J. Hess 2016. Yucca brevifolia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 30, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 30, 2016.

Yucca brevifolia
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Yucca brevifolia
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer
Yucca brevifolia
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© 2013 Neal Kramer
Yucca brevifolia
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Yucca brevifolia
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Yucca brevifolia
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© 2013 Christopher L. Christie

More photos of Yucca brevifolia in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Yucca brevifolia:
s SNH (e slope), Teh, e SNE, DMoj;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.