Twistleaf Yucca

Yucca rupicola

Other common name(s):

Twisted-leaf Yucca, Texas Yucca, Spanish Dagger


Asparagaceae (Asparagus Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

Edwards Plateau
Balcones Canyonlands, Edwards Plateau Woodland, Llano Uplift, Semiarid Edwards Plateau

Plant Characteristics

Growth Form

Cactus & Succulent





Leaf Retention




Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Sand, Loam, Rocky, Limestone, Caliche, Well Drained, Dry

Light Requirement

Sun, Part Shade

Water Requirement


Native Habitat

Grassland, Woodland

Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color


Bloom Season


Seasonal Interest

Nectar, Larval Host

Wildlife Benefit

Butterflies, Deer, Hummingbirds, Moths


Little to no maintenance required. Twist-leaf yucca tolerates full sun or dappled shade, deep soil or bare rock. Spent flower stems add summer/winter interest. Remove flower stalks before Spring, after blooming or leave pods to seed out. Remove dead leaves, if desired.


Blooms April-June. Endemic to the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion of Texas. Leaves are edged with white or red and covered with white curly hairs. New leaves are straight but twist with age. Found on rocky hillsides of limestone ledges, open plains, woodlands. DNA evidence confirms the close relationship of Y. pallida and Y. rupicola. Hybrids will spread into adjacent ecoregions. Deer will eat the clusters of white bell shaped flowers, but not foliage. Larval Host: Kendall’s Yucca Skipper.
Previous Scientific Name(s): Synonym(s): Yucca tortifolia


1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) Miller, George O., Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas 2nd Ed., 2013, pg 48. 3) Wasowski and Wasowski, Native Texas Plants Landscaping Region by Region, 1991, pg. 264-265. 4) 5) 6), 7), 8) Native and Adapted Landscape Plants, City of Austin and Texas A&M, 2014.
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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason