Yucca gloriosa growing in scrubland
Yucca gloriosa
Commonly known as 'Adam's Needle', Yucca gloriosa is a small, tree-like shrub with a stout stem and little to no branches.  Native to the beach scrub and sandy lowlands of the southeastern USA, it was first introduced to English gardens in around 1550, However it was named, properly classified and first described much later in 1753 by Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778). Incidentally, Carl Linnaeus is considered to be a 'giant' amongst botanists, known both as the 'father of modern taxonomy' and as one of the founders of modern ecology.

Yucca gloriosa -botanical illustration
Yucca gloriosa -botanical illustration
Yucca gloriosa is an evergreen species which under favourable conditions is known to grow to heights above 5 metres. It has straight, stiff leaves, each with a relatively dangerous spine at the tip. They are a glaucous green colour growing to approximately 30-60cm long and 7.5-10 cm wide, and are gathered into a dense, terminal head.

The creamy-white blooms (which are sometimes tinged red on the outside) are approximately 8 cm long and appear from September to November. They are borne on an erect, crowded, conical panicle which can be between 1-2.5 metres tall. The flowers are bell-shaped and if successfully pollinated will produce a leathery, elongate berry up to 8 cm long.

It is one of the hardiest species of Yucca and will happily growing outside in the south of England without the need for protection. It will perform best in most ordinary garden soils so long as they are free draining and positioned in full sun.

Yucca gloriosa received the Award of merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1984.

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