The Yucca plant is widely known as a drought-tolerant tree that is native to the countries like North and South America. It is recognized for producing distinguishing sword-shaped leaves and beautiful white-colored flowers. Known as an evergreen plant, Yucca can live in almost all climatic conditions. Mainly found in the desert areas, the yucca plant can also be found in grasslands, badlands, mountains, semi-temperate, and tropical zones. The major parts of the world to which these plants belong are Mexico, Guatemala, the Caribbean Islands, and some parts of the southeastern United States. Mexico’s state flower is known as the flowers produced by the Yucca plant. This tree can have almost more than 40 species and 24 sub-species of its kind. The yucca plant can be called out by many various names, such as Dragon Yucca, Joshua tree, Spanish Bayonet, Banana Yucca, Spanish dagger, Adam’s Needle, Spoonleaf Yucca, Needle Palm, Soft tip Yucca, Soapweed Yucca, Don Quixote’s lances, and Mojave Yucca.
Scientific Classification of the Yucca Tree
The kingdom of the Yucca tree is Plantae. Subkingdom of this plant is termed as Tracheobionta and the superdivision of the same is called Spermatophyta. The division to which the Yucca tree belongs is referred to as Magnoliophyta. The class of this well-known plant is Liliopsida and the subclass is Lilidae. The yucca tree comes in the order of Liliales and it belongs to the family of Agavaceae. The genus of this plant is named Yucca L.
Specifications of the Yucca Tree
- The yucca plant constitutes both shrubs as well as trees that grow upto a certain height of 24 inches to as high as 30 feet.
- As discussed above, the yucca tree is an evergreen plant with sword-like leaves arranged in a rosette arrangement.
- The yucca plant is known for producing soap-like fragrances filled with beautiful white flowers.
- The flowers are in a mutualistic relationship with the moths of the Yucca tree. The moths tend to transfer the pollen from a single flower to another leaving their eggs in the flower for hatching.
- By following this relationship pattern, the plant gets benefitted while producing eggs, and also the moths get a safe place for hatching their eggs.
- The structure of the leaves of the Yucca plant is made to be thick to support the loss of water by the process of transpiration.
- As they are mostly found in deserts, the leaves of the Yucca tree have an oily surface to trap moisture in them.
- The trapped water or moisture is then stored in the roots of a Yucca tree.
- For the growth and development of the Yucca tree, it requires partial sunlight.
- If the plant is grown in an area with lesser sunlight, then the Yucca plant will turn skinny and produce fewer flowers.
Root System of the Yucca Plant
Yucca is a drought-tolerant, desert plant, thus its survival in these dry locations is primarily dependent on its roots. Yucca plants have a robust absorption root system that not only collects a lot of water but also reserves it for when conditions are less ideal in the future. These roots are firmly embedded in the soil, making uprooting the plant challenging. Some Yucca species’ roots can produce new Yucca plants from every point, resulting in the forming of a colony in the region where they’re grown. The Yucca plant’s roots are highly invasive, and if cultivated in the garden, they can cause problems for surrounding plants and their roots.
In their need for energy and nutrients, they spread like weeds throughout the environment. To prevent root spread, Yucca should be planted in a pot or big container. The root system of the Yucca plant can be both fibrous and taproot. In addition to these two kinds, the Yucca plant generates Rhizomes, which shoot out roots from their stem and aid in moisture absorption.
Fibrous Root System
Yucca’s fibrous roots grow horizontally toward the surface, are deep, and are in charge of moisture absorption near the soil surface. These fibrous roots are great in collecting fresh rainwater from the soil, allowing the Yucca plant’s surroundings to dry off. As a result, any plant growing near Yucca will die quickly due to a lack of water.
Yucca plants have a distinct spongy Tap Root System, similar to carrots and radish. In quest of freshwater and nourishment, taproots delve down into the soil. These fleshy roots are renowned as a food supply in various parts of America. Saponin chemicals found in taproots are utilized as soap and as a frothing ingredient in the production of root beers.
Rhizomatic Root System
The rhizomes are altered Yucca plant stems that emerge from the parent plant’s bottom and grow horizontally in all dimensions. Rhizomes produce new stems and roots as a result of their stems. Although the roots resemble the primary roots, they are rhizomatic in structure and sustain the stems. Rhizomatic stems result in the development of a new plant with flowers and leaves. The Yucca plant, which was previously thin, thickens as a result of this process. Rhizomes are not produced by all Yucca species. Uprooting a Yucca plant is challenging due to the production of robust roots and stems by Rhizomes.
Exploring the Dangers of the Yucca Tree
Expert landscapers advise against planting yuccas next to the house since they develop tall and their roots are aggressive. Maintain them separate from any buildings. The vast root systems, according to Garden Design, can destabilize basements, sidewalks, swimming pools, and retaining structures, as well as disturb irrigation pipes. It’s hard to get rid of the roots once they’ve grown and established. The sharp points of the yucca spikes are deadly to people and pets, in contrast to the threats posed by the roots. To prevent walking routes, grow your yucca far from them. Toxins produced by the spines produce catastrophic skin irritations. When touching a yucca, it is always advised to wear gloves.
Uses of the Yucca Tree
- Diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, gall bladder, and liver issues, and stomach ulcers, all are treated with yucca trees.
- The plants of Yucca expose symptoms of arthritis such as pain, swelling, and tightness.
- The roots of the Yucca plant are utilized as spontaneous foamy and seasoning agents in the manufacturing industry. Soaps, fruit beers, and other carbonated drinks contain them.
- Some Yucca types are used in the development of novel medicines.
- Because of the Saponin chemicals found in the root of the Yucca plant, it has been reported to be used as shampoos by Native Americans.
- Yucca is a popular decorative plant in gardens. This plant has recently gained popularity as a cultivated plant in the United States.
- Some Mexican people use the Yucca plant’s flower petals during cooking some well-known recipes.