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. brevifolia Engelm.


Tree-like, 1–15 m, generally openly branched (sometimes clumped or only low-branching); rosettes at stem tips, dense
Leaf 20–35 cm, dark green; expanded base 2–4 cm, 4–5 cm wide, ± white; margins minutely serrate
Inflorescence 3–5 dm, heavy; peduncle generally ± 1 dm
Flower: perianth 4–7 cm, ± bell-shaped, cream to greenish, segments ± widely lanceolate, fused ± to middle; filaments thick throughout; pistil ± 3 cm, stigma cavity surrounded by lobes
Fruit spreading to erect
Ecology: Desert flats, slopes
Elevation: 500–2000 m.
Bioregional distribution: s High Sierra Nevada (e slope), Tehachapi Mountain Area, e East of Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert
Distribution outside California: to sw Utah, w Arizona
Flowering time: Apr–May
Synonyms: vars. herbertii (J.M. Webber) Munz and jaegeriana McKelvey
Growth form variable
Horticultural information: DRN, SUN, DRY: 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.

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bioregional map for YUCCA%20brevifolia 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 brevifolia
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Overlay Consortium of California Herbaria specimen data by county on this map
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