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Products > Yucca elata
Yucca elata - Soap Plant

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Southern States (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 12-20 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: < 0 F
Yucca elata (Soap Plant) - A slow-growing treelike yucca to 15-20 feet tall with a single or branching trunk, crowned by tufts of thin and pliable 3-4 foot long pale grey-green leaves that have narrow, white or greenish margins that shred off into thin strings. Older leaves remain attached to the trunk, forming a skirt and white to green flowers are carried on a tall spike in spring or early summer, though it does not regularly bloom each year. It is both drought and frost tolerant. We have been told of locations in Utah where this plant has withstood temperatures down to -13F. The overall structure and form of this yucca gives a finer textured look than many other tree-formed yuccas. The soaptree yucca is native to the Chihuahua and Sonora deserts of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The name given to the genus by Linnaeus was perhaps by mistake, as it is the Latinized derivation of "yuca", the Caribbean name for Cassava (Manihot esculenta), an unrelated plant in the Euphorbia family that is native to the Caribbean area. Interestingly it was also Linnaeus who applied the name Manihot to Yuca. The specific epithet is the Latin word for "exalted", "lofty" or "high" in reference to how tall this species can grow. Our plants from seed field collected northeast of Deming, New Mexico in July 2008 by Brian Kemble of the Ruth Bancroft Garden.  The information provided on this page is based on research we have conducted about this plant in our nursery's library, from what we have found about it on reliable online sources, as well as from observations in our nursery of crops of this plant as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing  Yucca elata.