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yucca(yŭk`ə), any plant of the genus Yucca, stiff-leaved stemless or treelike succulents of the family Liliaceae (lilylily,
common name for the Liliaceae, a plant family numbering several thousand species of as many as 300 genera, widely distributed over the earth and particularly abundant in warm temperate and tropical regions.
..... Click the link for more information. family), native chiefly to the tablelands of Mexico and the American Southwest but found also in the E United States and the West Indies. Yuccas in flower produce a large stalk of white or purplish blossoms. They are pollinated by the yucca moth, and in its absence they rarely fruit—a striking example of interdependence, since the moth, which lays its eggs during pollination and whose larvae feed on some of the developing seeds, cannot reproduce without the yucca. The leaves are usually stiff and spearlike, often with marginal threads. Several species are known as Adam's-needle, particularly those that are hardy and are cultivated in the North, most common of which is Y. filamentosa. The Joshua tree (Y. brevifolia) is a picturesque treelike species of desert regions. Mormons crossing the California deserts are said to have so named it because the grotesquely angular branches looked like the outstretched arms of a Joshua leading them out of the wilderness. The Spanish bayonet (Y. aloifolia) is another that is treelike in form, and the Spanish dagger (Y. gloriosa) is stemless or has a short trunk. The fruits and sometimes the flowers of several species of yucca were used as food by Native Americans. Certain species, particularly Y. baccata and Y. glauca, are called soap plant because of the use of their roots for soap. The fibers of some kinds have been utilized. A yucca is the state flower of New Mexico. Yuccas are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information. , class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.
a genus of tree-like evergreen plants of the family Agavaceae. The stems sometimes reach a height of 12 m; they are capable of secondary thickening, reaching a diameter of 30 cm. The sword-shaped, tough leaves are frequently greater than 1 m long; they form a ring around the stem or a basal rosette. The campanulate flowers are in groups of as many as 300 in large pyramidal terminal panicles measuring 0.2–5 m high. Pollination is by moths of the genus Pronuda. The fruit is a dry capsule, or it is succulent and indehiscent. In some species the fruit is edible.
There are about 40 species, distributed primarily in arid regions of Central America and southern North America. The leaves of the Adam’s needle (Y. filamentosa), the Spanish dagger (Y. gloriosa), and other species yield fiber used for making bagging, rope, and basketry. Yuccas are cultivated as ornamentals in the USSR (the Crimea and the Caucasus).