Yucca rostrata

Accession Count: 24
Common Name: Beaked Yucca
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Family Name: Asparagaceae
Botanical Name: Yucca rostrata
Synonyms:
Family Synonyms: Agavaceae
Sub Species:
Variety:
Forma:
Cultivar:
Characteristics: Yucca rostrata is a treelike shrub that grows out here in the desert, consisting of long, blue-green, spear-like leaves that burst outward from the center forming what is called the crown, similar to most yuccas. The pointed leaves grow to about two feet long and a half inch wide and are not as stiff as other yuccas, making them flexible and giving them a somewhat curved shape (8). Y. rostrata can be distinguished by characteristic yellow margins along the narrow leaves (3). The leaves may shed off of the stem as they die and leave behind a fibrous grey stem, unlike other yuccas that retain the dead leaves on the stem. The small tree grows to about 12 feet and typically remains unbranched (4,6,8). In the spring, beaked yucca's will show a large three foot panicle of small creamy white flowers (5).
Compound: Yuc ros
Geographic Origin: Texas, Northeast Mexico
Ecozone Origin: Nearctic
Biome Origin:
Natural History: Beaked yucca is native to the Chihuahuan Desert in very arid locations of west Texas and directly south in Eastern Chihuahua and Northern and Central Coahuila, Mexico. Y. rostrata are found at an elevation of 2,000-3,000 feet growing on rocky ridges and hillsides (1,8). 
Cultivation Notes: Y. rostrata is one of the most adaptable of the yuccas. It grows best in full sun and dry, rocky soils, and only requires supplemental watering in the hottest and driest months (2,4). It has adapted to withstand temperature extreme. The plant is cold hardy down to 10oF, although may suffer leaf tip dieback in excessively hot summer months (5,8). Seeds germinate best in 60-70oF temperatures, and it can also be propagated from rhizomes, stem cuttings, or by planting suckers from the side of established plants, and transplants easily (2,3).
Ethnobotany: This desert evergreen has been used by Native American people for food and fiber for thousands of years. They referred to them as 'palmita' and 'soyate' (1). More recently, Y. rostrata has been commercially exploited for ornamental purposes. It makes for a great accent plant in succulent and mixed desert gardens, and can be planted in either the ground or in a large container. These slow growing shrubs should be planted away from sidewalks and areas with high pedestrian traffic thanks the the very sharp, pointed ends of the leaves (7,8). 

Height: 11 - 15 feet
Width: 0 - 5 feet
Growth Rate: Slow Growing
Grow Season: Summer
Flower Season: Spring
Color: White
Function: Accent
Spread: Non-spreading
Allergen: Non-allergenic
Invasive: Benign
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Low water Use

Citations:
  1. Hochstatter, Fritz, and Gunter Hentzschel. Yucca I (Agavaceae): (dehiscent-fruited species) in the Southwest and Midwest of the USA and Canada. Mannheim: F. Hochstätter, 2000. Print.
  2. Lady Bird Wildflower Center -- Retrieved Oct. 27, 2018
  3. Irish, Mary, and Gary Irish. Agaves, yuccas, and related plants: a gardener's guide. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2000. Print.
  4. San Marcos Growers -- Retrieved Oct. 27, 2018
  5. Virtual Library of Phoenix Landscape Plants -- Retrieved Oct. 27, 2018
  6. Mountain States Wholesale Nursery -- Retrieved Oct. 27, 2018
  7. Randy's Water Gardens -- Retrieved Oct. 27, 2018
  8. Mielke, Judy. Native Plants for Southwestern Landscapes. University of Texas Press, 1993.
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Yucca rostrata