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Soaptree Yucca

Yucca elata

Other common name(s):

Soaptree, Soapweed Yucca, Palmilla, Palmella, Amole

Family:

Asparagaceae (Asparagus Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

Chihuahuan Deserts
Chihuahuan Basins and Playas, Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands, Chihuahuan Montane Woodlands, Low Mountains and Bajadas, Stockton Plateau

Plant Characteristics

Growth Form

Cactus & Succulent

Height

3
to
4
ft.

Spread

2
to
4
ft.

Leaf Retention

Evergreen

Lifespan

Perennial

Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Sand, Loam, Well Drained

Light Requirement

Sun

Water Requirement

Low

Native Habitat

Grassland

Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color

White

Bloom Season

Spring

Seasonal Interest

Fruit, Forage, Nectar

Wildlife Benefit

Birds, Small Mammals, Moths

Maintenance

Low maintenance. Transplanting is almost impossible due to large tap root. If it is too large, it can be cut off at ground level and it will leaf out again at the base. Needs sun and good drainage. Growth is extremely slow, about 1″ (2.5 cm) in height a year. The local name “Palmilla,” Spanish for “small palm,” refers to the resemblance of this species to a palm. State flower of New Mexico. Larval Host: Yucca Giant. Propagation: Seed, Root cuttings, Offsets transplant.

Comments

Blooms April-June. Native from the Trans Pecos westward to Arizona. An evergreen, tree-like yucca with fine, gray-green to blue-green leaves with white margins. Plants resemble coarse bunchgrass when young, gradually developing several heads on trunk-like stems with age. Clumps can form up to 8 feet wide. The flowering stem can reach 30 ft tall and is covered with clusters of creamy-white, bell-shaped flowers. The seed capsule is brown, woody. Provides nectar for moths which in turn pollinate the plant. Small mammals eat vegetation. Birds eat the fruit.
Previous Scientific Name(s): Synonym/s: Yucca angustissima var. elata, Yucca elata var. elata, Yucca elata var. utahensis, Yucca elata var. verdiensis, Yucca utahensis, Yucca verdiensis

References

1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) Wasowski, Sally and Wasowski, Andy, Native Texas Plants, Landscaping Region by Region, 1988, 1991, pg 264- 265. 3) Miller, George O., Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas 2nd Ed., 2013, pg 48. 4) http://bonap.net/TDC/Image/Map?taxonType=Species&taxonId=263&locationType=County&mapType=Normal. 5) https://portal.torcherbaria.org/portal/taxa/index.php?taxon=Yucca+elata&formsubmit=Search+Terms. 6) https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=YUEL 7) https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=43139#null