Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Dale W. McNeal, except as specified

Perennial to trees, from membranous bulb, fibrous corm, scaly rhizome, or erect caudex
Stem generally underground
Leaves generally basal, often withering early, alternate, generally ± linear
Inflorescence various, generally bracted
Flower generally bisexual, generally radial; perianth often showy, segments generally 6 in two petal-like whorls (outer sometimes sepal-like), free or fused at base; stamens 6 (or 3 + generally 3 ± petal-like staminodes), filaments sometimes attached to perianth or fused into a tube or crown; ovary superior or inferior, chambers 3, placentas generally axile, style generally 1, stigmas generally 3
Fruit: generally capsule, loculicidal or septicidal (berry or nut)
Genera in family: ± 300 genera, 4600 species: especially ± dry temp and subtropical; many cultivated for ornamental or food; some TOXIC. Here includes genera sometimes treated in Agavaceae, Amaryllidaceae, and other families.



Katy K. McKinney and James C. Hickman

Subshrub or tree-like, sometimes dying after fruit
Leaves rosetted (basal or elevated on branches), 2–15 dm, linear, stiff, sword-like, stoutly spine-tipped; bases ± expanded; edges generally curved up
Inflorescence: panicle, dense; flowers pendent
Flower 2–13 cm; perianth parts 6 in 2 petal-like whorls, generally ± fused, ± white, fleshy, waxy; stamens 6, filaments ± thick, fleshy; ovary superior, style short, stigma 3-lobed, concave or dome-like
Fruit: generally capsule
Seeds ± many in 2 rows per chamber, black, often flat
Species in genus: ± 40 species: especially dry sw North America
Etymology: (Haitian: yuca, or manihot, because young inflorescences sometimes roasted for food)
Pollinated at night by small moths that simultaneously lay eggs in ovary.


Y. baccata Torr.

Stems ± 0 aboveground; rosettes ± open, solitary or in small clumps
Leaf 50–75 cm, ± dark green; expanded base ± 10 cm, 5 cm wide, reddish; margins strongly fibrous-shredding
Inflorescence 6–8 dm, heavy, purple-tinged; peduncle < 2 dm
Flower: perianth 5–13 cm, bell-shaped, reddish brown outside, ± white inside, segments lanceolate (outer narrower), fused below; pistil 5–8 cm
Fruit 15–17 cm, fleshy when young, eventually pendent
Ecology: Uncommon. Dry Joshua-tree woodland
Elevation: 800–1300 m.
Bioregional distribution: eastern Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: to Utah, Texas
Flowering time: May–Jun
Synonyms: var. vespertina McKelvey
Reported to hybridize with Y. schidigera
Horticultural information: DRN, SUN, DRY: 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.

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bioregional map for YUCCA%20baccata being generated
N.B. The distribution depicted here differs from that given in The Jepson Manual (1993)

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Yucca baccata
Retrieve dichotomous key for Yucca
Overlay Consortium of California Herbaria specimen data by county on this map
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