Yucca gigantea

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Yucca gigantea
Yucca gigantea - Jardin Botanico Canario Viera y Clavijo - Gran Canaria.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Yucca
Y. gigantea
Binomial name
Yucca gigantea
Synonyms [1] [2]
  • Dracaena lenneiBaker
  • Dracaena yuccoidesBaker
  • Sarcoyucca elephantipesLinding., nom. superfl.
  • Yucca eleanaW.Watson
  • Yucca elephantipesRegel ex Trel., nom. illeg.
  • Yucca elephantipes var. ghiesbreghtiiMolon
  • Yucca ghiesbreghtiiBaker
  • Yucca guatemalensisBaker
  • Yucca lenneanaBaker
  • Yucca mazeliiW.Watson
  • Yucca mooreanaBaker
  • Yucca roezliiBaker

Yucca gigantea is a species of flowering plant in the asparagus family, native to Mexico and Central America. Growing up to 8–12 m (26–39 ft) in height, [3] it is an evergreen shrub which is widely cultivated as an ornamental garden or house plant often being called just yucca cane. [4]

In biology, a species is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, morphology, behaviour or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined.

Flowering plant Class of flowering plants (in APG I-III)

The flowering plants, also known as angiosperms, Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants, with 64 orders, 416 families, approximately 13,000 known genera and 300,000 known species. Like gymnosperms, angiosperms are seed-producing plants. However, they are distinguished from gymnosperms by characteristics including flowers, endosperm within the seeds, and the production of fruits that contain the seeds. Etymologically, angiosperm means a plant that produces seeds within an enclosure; in other words, a fruiting plant. The term comes from the Greek words angeion and sperma ("seed").

Evergreen plant that has leaves in all four seasons

In botany, an evergreen is a plant that has leaves throughout the year that are always green. This is true even if the plant retains its foliage only in warm climates, and contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.



Common names include spineless yucca, soft-tip yucca, blue-stem yucca, giant yucca, yucca cane, and itabo. Its flower, the izote, is the national flower of El Salvador.

El Salvador Country in Central America

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.


Yucca gigantea is usually less than 6 m (20 ft) in height. It may have a thick, single trunk or be multitrunked resulting from a thickened, inflated, trunk-like lower base similar to an elephant's foot. [5] [6] The exceptionally narrow leaves fan out in clumps. They are strap-like, spineless and up to 1.2 m (4 ft) in length. White flowers are produced in the summer. Mature plants produce erect spikes of pendent flowers up to 1 m (3.3 ft) in length. [3] Flowers are followed by brown, fleshy fruits which are oval and up to 2.5 cm (1 in) long. [5]


The French botanist Charles Lemaire published the name Yucca gigantea in November 1859. [7] This is the name used by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as of January 2014, [1] although other sources use Yucca guatemalensis, published by Baker in 1872. [8]

Charles Antoine Lemaire French botanist

Charles Antoine Lemaire, was a French botanist and botanical author, noted for his publications on Cactaceae.

The species is still most widely known in the horticultural literature as Yucca elephantipes. The first mention of that name was by the German horticulturalist Eduard von Regel in February 1859. He claimed that a different species, Y. aloifolia , was sometimes known as Y. elephantipes when grown in European gardens because of its thickened stem base. [9] However, since he did not intend to offer Y. elephantipes as the actual correct name, this was not a valid publication. In a major article on yuccas and allies in 1902, the American botanist William Trelease also used the name Y. elephantipes, referring to Regel's 1859 publication. [10] This came too late though, as Y. gigantea had by then already been established. [7] [11] Y. elephantipes must therefore be regarded as an illegitimate name, according to the strict rules of the ICN, [12]

Eduard August von Regel German botanist (1815–1892)

Eduard August von Regel, Russian: Эдуард Август Фон Регель; was a German horticulturalist and botanist. He ended his career serving as the Director of the Russian Imperial Botanical Garden of St. Petersburg. As a result of naturalists and explorers sending back biological collections, Regel was able to describe and name many previously unknown species from frontiers around the world.

William Trelease was an American botanist, entomologist, explorer, writer and educator. This botanist is denoted by the author abbreviation Trel. when citing a botanical name.

<i>International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants</i> Code of scientific nomenclature

The International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN) is the set of rules and recommendations dealing with the formal botanical names that are given to plants, fungi and a few other groups of organisms, all those "traditionally treated as algae, fungi, or plants". It was formerly called the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN); the name was changed at the International Botanical Congress in Melbourne in July 2011 as part of the Melbourne Code which replaced the Vienna Code of 2005.


Yucca gigantea is found natively in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the eastern part of Mexico (Quintana Roo, Yucatán, Campeche, Tabasco, Chiapas, Veracruz, eastern Puebla and southern Tamaulipas). [8]

It is also reportedly naturalized in Puerto Rico, the Leeward Islands and Ecuador. [13]


The species can be grown in a variety of soils and is drought-tolerant. Young plants are occasionally used as houseplants. However the species grows best in a hot semi-arid climate, so plants are subject to root rot if overwatered. Older plants are generally the most susceptible. For this reason young, shorter trees are superior houseplants as they are more adaptable to environmental changes. Yucca gigantea can be affected by a number of pests including scale, yucca moth borers, and yucca weevils. [14] [15] Leaf spot may affect the appearance of the leaves, but it does not affect the health of the plant. Propagation is by suckers, cuttings or seed. [5]

This species has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. [3] [16]

Related Research Articles

<i>Yucca</i> A genus of flowering plants belonging to the agave and Joshua tree subfamily

Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae. Its 40–50 species are notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal panicles of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry (arid) parts of the Americas and the Caribbean.

<i>Dracaena</i> (plant) genus of plants

Dracaena ( is a genus of about 120 species of trees and succulent shrubs. In the APG IV classification system, it is placed in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Nolinoideae. It has also formerly been separated into the family Dracaenaceae or placed in the Agavaceae.

<i>Coreopsis gigantea</i> species of plant

Coreopsis gigantea with the common name giant coreopsis, is a woody perennial plant native to coastal regions of central and southern California and also to northern Baja California.

<i>Yucca filamentosa</i> species of plant

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<i>Dioscorea elephantipes</i> species of plant

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<i>Beaucarnea recurvata</i> species of plant

Beaucarnea recurvata is a species of plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to the states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz and San Luis Potosí in eastern Mexico. Despite its common name, it is not closely related to the true palms (Arecaceae). It has become popular in Europe and worldwide as an ornamental plant. There are 350-year-old Beaucarneas registered in Mexico.

<i>Hesperoyucca</i> genus of plants

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<i>Dypsis lutescens</i> species of plant

Dypsis lutescens, also known as golden cane palm, areca palm, yellow palm, or butterfly palm, is a species of flowering plant in the family Arecaceae, native to Philippines, Madagascar and South India and naturalized in the Andaman Islands, Réunion, El Salvador, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Canary Islands, southern Florida, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands and the Venezuelan Antilles.

<i>Stapelia gigantea</i> species of plant

Stapelia gigantea is a species of flowering plant in the genus Stapelia of the family Apocynaceae. The plant is referred to as Zulu giant, carrion plant or toad plant. Stapelia gigantea sometimes also goes by the name of Stapelia nobilis or Stapelia marlothii. The plant is native to the desert regions of South Africa to Tanzania.

<i>Schefflera actinophylla</i> Australian tree species

Schefflera actinophylla is a tree in the family Araliaceae. It is native to tropical rainforests and gallery forests in Australia, New Guinea and Java. Common names include Australia umbrella tree, Queensland umbrella tree, octopus tree and amate.

<i>Yucca gloriosa</i> species of plant

Yucca gloriosa is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to the southeastern United States. Growing to 2.5 m (8.2 ft), it is an evergreen shrub. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental for its architectural qualities, and has reportedly become established in the wild in various parts of the world.

<i>Allium giganteum</i> species of plant

Allium giganteum, common name giant onion, is an Asian species of onion, native to central and southwestern Asia but cultivated in many countries as a flowering garden plant. It is the tallest species of Allium in common cultivation, growing to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft).

<i>Hesperaloe parviflora</i> species of plant

Hesperaloe parviflora, also known as red yucca, hummingbird yucca, redflower false yucca and samandoque, is a plant that is native to Chihuahuan desert of west Texas east and south into central and south Texas and northeastern Mexico around Coahuila.

<i>Yucca rostrata</i> species of plant

Yucca rostrata also called beaked yucca, is a tree-like plant belonging to the genus Yucca. The species is native to Texas, Chihuahua and Coahuila.

<i>Yucca faxoniana</i> species of plant

Yucca faxoniana is a bladed evergreen shrub of the genus Yucca. It is known by the common names Faxon yucca,Spanish dagger, and giant dagger.

<i>Yucca jaliscensis</i> species of plant

Yucca jaliscensis is a Yucca species native to the highlands of southwestern Mexico. Common names for this species include Jalisco Yucca, Jalisco Soapwort, Izote Yucca. It is native to mountainous areas at about 5000 feet in the States of Jalisco, Colima and Guanajuato.

<i>Yucca flaccida</i> species of plant

Yucca flaccida, commonly called Adam's needle or weak-leaf yucca, is a species of flowering plant in the asparagus family (Asparagaceae). It is native to south-central and southeastern North America, from the lower Great Plains eastward to the Atlantic seaboard in Virginia, south through Florida and the Gulf states. It is a stemless evergreen shrub growing to 55 cm (22 in) tall by 150 cm (59 in) broad. It has a basal rosette of sharply pointed, swordlike leaves up to 55 cm (22 in) long. In summer, 150 cm (59 in) long panicles of bell-shaped creamy white flowers are held above the foliage.

<i>Yucca thompsoniana</i> species of plant

Yucca thompsoniana, the Thompson's yucca, is a plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to Texas, Chihuahua and Coahuila. Other names for the plant include Beaked yucca, Soyate and Palmita.

<i>Yucca periculosa</i> species of plant

Yucca periculosa is a plant in the family Asparagaceae with the common name izote. It is native to the Mexican states of Veracruz, Morelos, Guerrero, Puebla and Oaxaca.

<i>Yucca aloifolia</i> A species of flowering plants belonging to the agave, yucca, and Joshua tree subfamily

Yucca aloifolia is the type species for the genus Yucca. Common names include aloe yucca, dagger plant, and Spanish bayonet. It grows in sandy soils, especially on sand dunes along the coast.


  1. 1 2 3 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, 291761.
  2. Tropicos, Yucca gigantea
  3. 1 2 3 "Yucca elephantipes". RHS. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  4. Lowes L20982hp
  5. 1 2 3 Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson. "Yucca elephantipes" (PDF). Environmental Horticulture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  6. Eggli, Urs (2001). Illustrated handbook of succulent plants. Springer. p. 93. ISBN   978-3-540-41692-0 . Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  7. 1 2 Lemaire, Charles (1859). L'Illustration horticole, volume 6. J. Linder. p. 91.
  8. 1 2 "Yucca guatemalensis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2008-02-06.
  9. von Regel, Eduard August (1859). "Aufzählung der Yucca-arten des Kaiserlichen Botanischen Gartens in St. Petersburg nebst Beiträgen zu deren Cultur". Gartenflora. 8: 34–38. Retrieved 2012-02-26. p. 35: "Wegen des am Grunde verdickten Stammes in den Gärten auch als Y. elephantipes gehend." (Going also in gardens as Y. elephantipes because of the thickened base of the stem).
  10. Trelease, William (1902). "The Yucceae". Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 13: 27–129. p. 94
  11. Tropicos.org. "**Yucca elephantipes Regel". Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  12. "Yucca elephantipes". The Plant List. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  13. Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  14. "Yucca weevil—Scyphophorus yuccae". Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  15. Ryczkowski, Angela. "Insects & Pests of the Yucca". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  16. "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 108. Retrieved 11 March 2019.