Yucca flaccida - Royal Botanic Garden, Madrid
Yucca flaccida - Royal Botanic Garden, Madrid
Commonly known as Adam's needle, Yucca flaccida is a stemless, evergreen flowering shrub native to south-central and southeastern North America. The species name flaccida means 'weak' or 'feeble', which refers to the older leaves which often fold under their own weight. It was first named and described by English entomologist and botanist Adrian Hardy Haworth (1767–1833).

Yucca flaccida forms tufts of long, lanceolate, green or glaucous leaves. The terminal portion of each leaf bends down and the margins are edged with curly white threads. The blooms are creamy white and are borne in July and August. Each bell-shaped flower is 5-5.6 cm long, and are carried in erect, downy panicles which can be between 60 cm and 120 cm tall. As the blooms mature they open up to a more star-shaped design.

It will perform best in a sheltered, position which receives as much sun as possible. Mediterranean or subtropical climates are ideal. Plant in well-drained soil, avoiding heavy, clay soils and particularly those soils prone to waterlogging. Cold wet winters can knock back growth and can even promote fungal infections which, if not controlled, can lead to the death of the plant.

In the United Kingdom, Yucca flaccida can be grown successfully in the milder regions of the south and west, but will require cold protection further north. In areas which receive freezing temperatures and high levels of rainfall effective drainage becomes increasingly necessary.

It is rarely attacked from pests and disease although slug damage can be noticed on brown leaves and very rarely green foliage. The blooms can sometimes be a magnet to aphids.

Image credit - William Avery licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

For related articles click onto the following links:

No comments: