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Products > Yucca rostrata
 
Yucca rostrata - Big Bend Yucca

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

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Agavaceae (now Asparagaceae)
Origin: Southwest (U.S.) (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 12-16 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Yucca rostrata (Big Bend Yucca) - A slow-growing tree-like yucca with upright stems and beautiful gray-blue narrow foliage. Although it can branch, it is most often seen with a single trunk, that can grow to 12-15 feet tall. The 2 foot long, stiff, slightly waxy, pale bluish-green leaves with yellow margins, form a dense rosette on top of the stems. The old leaves fall off leaving a fibrous soft gray covering on the trunk. Large clusters of white flowers bloom on yellow-orange colored stalks that rise above the foliage on mature plants in late spring. It performs best in warm sunny areas with good drainage and occasional to infrequent summer irrigation. It is noted as preferring alkaline conditions and is hardy to around 0F. We have found that gophers are fond of this plant and will tunnel right up the stem - must be yummy! This plant naturally inhabits western Texas and northern Mexico in the states of Chihuahua and Coahuila where is can be found on rocky slopes and ridges. The specific epithet 'rostrata' means "beaked" in reference to either the shape of the flower buds or appendages on the fruit. This has given this plant the common name of Beaked Yucca but it is also called Silver Yucca or Big Bend yucca for the region in Texas where it is commonly found. The indigenous people of this area also called it Soyate and Palmita. We first learned this as Adam's Yucca for an enterprising nurseryman in Texas who was shipping specimen size plants bare root into California, many of which ended up gracing the front of high-end stores such as Nordstrom's, giving rise to another common name of Nordstrom's Yucca. It is sometimes confused with Yucca rigida which has stiffer leaves that are more bowed in cross section compared to the flat leaves of Yucca rostrata. Though the tip of this plant is fairly sharp the lack of stiffness in the leaves makes this plant less dangerous than most others of the genus. One person, offering a test in a succulent forum, jokingly noted that one way to tell the difference between Yucca rostrata and the similar Yucca rigida was to hold your hand a few inches away from the leaves and shove hard towards the leaf; if the leaf went through your hand it was Y. rigida, if not it was likely Y. rostrata. The name Yucca was given to the genus by Linnaeus, 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 information on this page is based on research conducted about this plant in the San Marcos Growers library, from online sources, and from observations made of the crops growing in our nursery, plants in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens where we may have observed it. We also have incorporated comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from those who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Yucca rostrata.
 
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