Introduction To Yucca Plant
Yucca is a drought-tolerant perennial plant which is a native to the states of North and South America. The plant is morphologically distinguishable due to its sword-shaped leaves and large white coloured flowers. Yucca is an evergreen plant and has widely adopted in almost every climate and ecological conditions.
Although it is found in desserts, it is also favourable in badlands, grasslands, mountains, tropical and semi temperate zones. It is mainly found in the states of Mexico, Carribean islands, Guatemala and in parts of southeastern United States. Flowers of Yucca plant is adopted as The State Flower by Mexico. Yucca plant has around 40 plus the number of species and around two dozens of subspecies.
It is commonly known by many names, for example, Dragon Yucca, Spanish bayonet, Joshua tree, banana yucca, Adam’s needle, Spanish dagger, Needle-Palm, Spoonleaf yucca, Soft tip yucca, Mojave Yucca, Don Quixote’s lances, soapweed yucca,
|Genus: Yucca L.|
- Yucca plant species include both shrubs and trees and grows from a height of 24 inches to 30 feet.
- The leaves are sword shaped having a rosette arrangement and are evergreen.
- The flowers are white coloured having soap like fragrance.
- The flowers of the Yucca plant have a mutualistic relationship with the Yucca moths. The moths transfer the pollen from one flower to another while leaving their eggs to get hatched in the flowers of Yucca plant. In this way, the plant is benefitted in the process of reproduction while the moths get a safe place to hatch their eggs.
- The leaves of the Yucca plant are thick so as to minimise the loss of water through transpiration as they are mostly found in desserts and places with less groundwater and rainfall. Some species of Yucca have an oily layer on their leaves in order to trap the moisture. The water is stored in the roots.
- They require full to part sun for growth. Lesser sunlight often leads to a skinny growth of the Yucca plant with fewer flowers which is not considered healthy.
Root System Of Yucca Plant
Since Yucca is a drought-tolerant, arid plant, therefore, their growth in these dry areas depend upon their roots mainly. Yucca plants have a strong absorbing root system that not only absorbs water in great quantity but also stores this absorbed water for the future unfavourable conditions. These roots are strongly held in the soil and make it difficult to uproot the plant. Roots of some species of Yucca plants can give rise to new Yucca from any point resulting into the formation of a colony in an area where they’re planted.
The roots of the Yucca plant are quite invasive and if grown in the garden can cause trouble to the nearby plants and their roots. They spread throughout the area in a weed-like manner for the search of water and nutrient. So it is advised to plant Yucca in a pot or large container to avoid the root spread.
Yucca plant has both Fibrous and Taproot Root system. Other than these two types, Yucca plant also produces Rhizomes that sends out roots from their stems and helps in the water absorption.
Fibrous Root System
The fibrous roots of Yucca spread horizontally near the surface, they’re shallow and are responsible for water absorption near the soil surface. These fibrous roots are excellent in absorbing the fresh rain water from the moist soils making the area around the Yucca plant dry. Therefore, any plant grown near Yucca can not survive long due to unavailability of water.
Tap Root System
The Yucca plants have a distinguishable fleshy Tap Root System like carrot, radish et Cetra. The Tap Root penetrate deep into the soil in the search of groundwater and nutrients. These roots are fleshy and are popular as a source of food in some parts of America. These Tap roots contain Saponin compounds that are used as soap and as a foaming agent in the formation of root beers.
Rhizomatic Root System
The rhizomes are the modified stem of the Yucca plant that arises from the base of the parent plant and then spread horizontally in all directions. These stems of Rhizomes give rise to more stems and roots. The roots although appear like the main roots but are rhizomatic in nature and support these stems. The rhizomatic stems lead to the formation of a new plant having flowers and leaves. This results in the thicking of the Yucca plant which otherwise may appear to be skinny. Not all species of Yucca plant produces Rhizomes. The formation of firm roots and stems of Rhizomes makes it difficult to uproot a Yucca plant.
Uses of Yucca Plant
- Yucca is used for curing diseases like diabetes, cholesterol migration, high blood pressure, liver and gall bladder disorders and stomach ulcers. It also reveals arthritis problems like pain, swelling and stiffness.
- Roots of Yucca plant are used in manufacturing industries as a natural foaming and flavouring agents. They’re used in making soaps, fruit beers and other carbonated beverages. Some varieties of Yucca is utilised for the production of new medicines.
- Yucca is widely used as a fancy plant in gardens. Lately, this plant has become very attractive as a garden plant in the states of the US, United Kingdom and Canada.
- Due to the presence of Saponin compounds in the roots of the Yucca plant, it has been known to be natively used as shampoo by the American.
- Some Mexican recipes are cooked with the flower petals of the Yucca plant.