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Useful Temperate Plants

Yucca constricta

Buckley

Asparagaceae

+ Synonyms

Yucca albospica Van Houtte

Yucca angustifolia Carrière (1860)

Yucca polyphylla Baker

Common Name: Buckley's Yucca

No Image.

General Information

Yucca constricta is an evergreen shrub suckering to form small to large open colonies; it can grow up to 100cm tall. The plant produces asymmetrical rosettes of spear-shaped leaves 25 - 65cm long and 7 - 15mm wide from stems that are usually subterranean but can be up to 40cm tall[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials. The roots of Yucca species are rich in saponins and have a wide range of applications. The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens.

Known Hazards

The roots contain saponins[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
]. Whilst saponins are quite toxic to people, they are poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass straight through. They are also destroyed by prolonged heat, such as slow baking in an oven. Saponins are found in many common foods such as beans[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
274
Title
Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
Publication
 
Author
Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J
Website
http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/bio/gdiggs/NCTXpdf.htm
Publisher
Botanical Research Institute, Texas.
Year
1999
ISBN
1-889878-01-4
Description
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.

Range

Southern N. America - Texas, north Mexico

Habitat

Limestone outcrops and rocky prairies[
274
Title
Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
Publication
 
Author
Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J
Website
http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/bio/gdiggs/NCTXpdf.htm
Publisher
Botanical Research Institute, Texas.
Year
1999
ISBN
1-889878-01-4
Description
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.
]. Brushwood, grassland areas; at elevations from 300 - 700 metres[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height1.50 m
PollinatorsHand
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Yucca constricta is a plant of semi-arid regions in southern N. America and, although capable of tolerating occasional short-lived temperatures down to around -5°c, does not grow very well in moist climates, being especially intolerant of winter wet[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Thrives in any soil but prefers a sandy loam and full exposure to the south[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Plants are hardier when grown on poor sandy soils[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Established plants are very drought resistant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Yuccas are pollinated by small, white Yucca moths (Tegeticula yucasella and related species) with which they have a special plant-insect mutualism. At night, the fragrant flowers attract the female moth that feeds on the nectar. She then rolls pollen from the flowers into a ball that is three times the size of her head and carries the pollen ball to the next flower. There, she first lays eggs inside the immature ovary and then deposits the pollen on the flower’s stigma ensuring that seeds will form to feed her progeny. Because the larvae mature before they are able to consume all of
the seeds (60 to 80% of the seeds remain viable), the plants are able to reproduce as well[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
]. In regions where the moth cannot live and, if fruit and seed are required, then hand pollination is necessary[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. This can be quite easily and successfully done using something like a small paint brush.
Individual crowns are monocarpic, dying after flowering[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
]. However, the crown will usually produce a number of sideshoots before it dies and these will grow on to flower in later years[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].
Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
]

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit can be 35 - 63mm long and 15 - 43mm wide[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

Flowers - raw or cooked. Delicious raw, they can also be dried, crushed and used as a flavouring[
164
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 4.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1990
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Yuccas, one on Sagebrush (Artemesia spp) and another on Chaerophyllum bulbosum.
].

Flowering stem - cooked and used like asparagus[
164
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 4.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1990
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Yuccas, one on Sagebrush (Artemesia spp) and another on Chaerophyllum bulbosum.
].

Medicinal

The roots are antiinflammatory, antitumor, antiviral[
1124
Title
Yucca
Publication
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
Author
 
Website
http://www.naturaldatabase.com/
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive database of herbs, minerals and other natural products taken to promote health
].
The roots of Yucca species are rich in saponins and medicinally active compounds. The roots, harvested when the plant is not in flower, are used to make a health-promoting drink. It has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, to lower blood pressure and to reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis such as pain, swelling and stiffness. Yucca schidigera seems to be the species most often quoted, though all species contain the saponins[
1123
Title
Yuccas of the Southwest
Publication
Agriculture Monograph No. 17
Author
Webber J.M.
Publisher
USDA
Year
1953
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but very detailed information on the various species and their uses
,
1124
Title
Yucca
Publication
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
Author
 
Website
http://www.naturaldatabase.com/
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive database of herbs, minerals and other natural products taken to promote health
].
Taken orally, the root is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, hypertension, migraine headaches, colitis, stomach disorders, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, poor circulation, and liver and gallbladder disorders[
1124
Title
Yucca
Publication
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
Author
 
Website
http://www.naturaldatabase.com/
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive database of herbs, minerals and other natural products taken to promote health
].
Applied topically, it is used to treat sores, skin diseases, inflammation, bleeding, sprains, broken limbs, joint pain, baldness, and dandruff[
1124
Title
Yucca
Publication
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
Author
 
Website
http://www.naturaldatabase.com/
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive database of herbs, minerals and other natural products taken to promote health
].

Many compounds from yucca have been used in the synthesis of new drugs[
1124
Title
Yucca
Publication
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
Author
 
Website
http://www.naturaldatabase.com/
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
A very comprehensive database of herbs, minerals and other natural products taken to promote health
].

Other Uses

A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making ropes, baskets and mats[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
169
Title
A Weavers Garden
Publication
 
Author
Buchanan. R.
Publisher
McGraw-Hill Contemporary
Year
1987
ISBN
0934026289
Description
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
].

The roots are rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
].
The juice of the plant has a wide variety of uses. In agriculture it is used as a base in liquid fertilizers where its ability to reduce surface tension of irrigation water greatly assists penetration in heavy soils; it assists in soil flocculation to a marked degree; it serves as a carrying agent for the plant-food chemicals[
1123
Title
Yuccas of the Southwest
Publication
Agriculture Monograph No. 17
Author
Webber J.M.
Publisher
USDA
Year
1953
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but very detailed information on the various species and their uses
]. The yucca extract itself is rich in the vital minor elements including boron, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc[
1123
Title
Yuccas of the Southwest
Publication
Agriculture Monograph No. 17
Author
Webber J.M.
Publisher
USDA
Year
1953
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but very detailed information on the various species and their uses
].
The juice is said to be widely used as a carbon dioxide stabilizer in the control of oil fires, and saponin from yucca is considered a good base for soaps, shampoos, cleansing powders, and tooth pastes and powders[
1123
Title
Yuccas of the Southwest
Publication
Agriculture Monograph No. 17
Author
Webber J.M.
Publisher
USDA
Year
1953
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but very detailed information on the various species and their uses
].

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. Pre-soaking the seed for 24 hours in warm water may reduce the germination time. It usually germinates within 1 - 12 months if kept at a temperature of 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and consider giving them some winter protection for at least their first winter outdoors - a simple pane of glass is usually sufficient[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Seed is not produced in Britain unless the flowers are hand pollinated.
Root cuttings in late winter or early spring. Lift in mid spring and remove small buds from base of stem and rhizomes. Dip in dry wood ashes to stop any bleeding and plant in a sandy soil in pots in a greenhouse until established[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-12-12. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Yucca+constricta>

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