Apartment plants

Yucca - Yucca aloifolia

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The yucca

Yuccas are herbaceous succulent plants from warm and dry environments of North and Central America. They belong to the Agavaceae family and their genus includes not less than fifty species.

There are more or less rustic ones. The former can be grown almost anywhere in our country. The others, on the other hand, are to be kept in pots or are to be reserved for the southern regions and coastal areas.

Genus of about 40 species of evergreen trees and shrubs, originating in the southern United States, Mexico and South America; some are stemless, others have erect, vigorous stems, sometimes with some branches, which develop with age. The species grown in the apartment have a woody, erect, scarcely branched stem with smooth bark; at the apex of the stems a thick head of long fleshy, rigid, pointed, green colored leaves is produced; varieties with variegated foliage exist. In summer occasionally the adult paints produce high panicles, which carry numerous bell-shaped flowers, white or cream colored.

In the spontaneous state, the yucca it is pollinated by the small Pronuba moth, which lays its eggs in the ovary of the flower, pollinating it. Although the larvae feed on the seeds that germinate, they still remain in sufficient numbers for reproduction.

Cultivated varieties: Yucca aloifolia, Y.a. draconis, Y. brevifolia, Y.b. brevifolia, Y.b. herbertii, Y. elata, Y. elephantipes (Y. gigantea, Y. Guatemalensis), Y.e. variegata, Y.Cespitosa, Y.f variegata, Y. flaccida, Y. filamentosa, Y. glauca, Y. gloriosa, Y. recurvifolia, Y. whipplei (Hesperoyucca whipplei), Y.w. caespitosa, Y.w. intermediate.


Characteristics of the yucca

The various species can have very different bearing and shapes from each other: we go from small shrubs to medium-sized trees. In general, however, we can say that they are characterized by persistent and rigid foliage, with a smooth edge, almost always bearing a thorn on the tip. The height when ripe can go from about 60 cm to more than 10 meters, not to mention the floral scape which often exceeds the height of the leaves by many meters: it emerges from the center of the rosette and bears a large number of bell-shaped flowers, white, cream or, more rarely, purple.

It is very suitable to be used as an isolated specimen, but it is also suitable for the formation of hedges or as an apartment or terrace specimen, if inserted in large pots.

It is also used in many countries for many practical purposes. From the leaves and roots i can get a good flavor of natural origin. The leaves and trunks are used in the construction of the houses. Let's not forget that, in the areas where it is endemic, it produces very palatable fruits: it is very rare for us to see them because the flowers need pollination from insects not present in our continent. The only exception is represented by the Yucca aloifolia: to taste them, however, wait until they are well dried on the plant. They have a very particular liquorice flavor.

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