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Yucca baccata
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  • 1. * Banana Yucca – Yucca baccata (YUK-uh bah-KAY(or CAH)-tuh) Family: Agavaceae (Agave Family) Native to: Widespread in Southwestern U.S. from California’s eastern desert mountains to CO, TX and Mexico. Occurs in Mojave, Sonoran and Great Basin Deserts; uncommon on on dry slopes and in dry Joshua tree woodlands up to ~ 7000 ft (lower in CA). clumping perennial mature height: 3-6+ ft. mature width: 3-10+ ft. Part-woody sub-shrub that looks like a typical Yucca. Long (1-2 ½ ft), strap-like leaves in a basal rosette. Leaves have sharp spines on their tips and curling fibers along their sides. Plant is rather stiff in appearance. Size and other characteristics depend greatly on available water. Produces offshoots (pups) on spreading rhizomes – slowly spreading. Growth characteristics: Blooms in spring – as early as April and as late as June. Flowers are on a stout stalk that rises slightly above the leaves. Large (1-3 inches), white-purple Yucca flowers cluster along the flowering stalk for several weeks. Very dramatic! Pollinated by the nocturnal pronuba moth. Fruit is fleshy, resembling a small banana (hence the common name) and edible (usually roasted or baked). Important food plant for people and small creatures, birds. Blooms/fruits: Uses in the garden: Most often used in rock gardens or desert-themed gardens. Nice accent plant in Mediterranean or Central American style gardens. Would also complement modern architecture. Can be grown in large containers. Make good barrier plants, rustic hedges. Sometimes grown as a food plant, source of fibers for basketry or source of soap (saponins from roots). Sensible substitute for: Non-native Agaves. Excellent habitat plant: provides cover for lizards, habitat for a wide range of insects and fruits/seeds which are eaten by many animals and birds. Attracts: Requirements: Element Sun Soil Water Fertilizer Other Requirement Full sun to light shade. Well-drained (rocky/sandy are best); any local pH. Very drought tolerant but looks better with monthly summer water – Zone 1-2. None needed. Little to no mulch; inorganic mulch fine. Management: Carefully (wear protection) remove spent flower stalks. Easy. Don’t overwater. Propagation: from seed: best with 2 month cold treatment by offsets: ?winter Plant/seed sources (see list for source numbers): 2, 6, 8, 16, 24, 44 4/29/13 © Project SOUND