Great Plains Yucca (Yucca glauca)

Great Plains Yucca (Yucca glauca), also know as soapweed and Spanish Bayonet, was used by Native Americans and early settlers to create soap from its roots along with needles, sandals, rope, and paintbrushes from its leaves. In addition, its anti-inflammatory qualities were used to treat stomach aches, bruises, sprains, broken bones, and arthritis. It is a perennial ordinarily found in sunny dry foothills, rocky soils, and prairies on the eastern side of the Continental Divide at elevations ranging from 4,000 to 8,500 feet. In similar fashion to identifying a porcupine, a great plains yucca is identified by a set of leaves that are less than 1.0 centimeters wide, 20 to 100 centimeters long, and that have sharp pointy tips spread out in the shape of a half-sphere. Further, it roots can extend 20 feet down and 20 feet horizontally. In the spring, a two to three foot stalk protrudes from the center of the plant and bears large greenish-white, oval-shaped fruit. The following picture shows great plains yucca with stalks that have shed their fruit.
Moths and rabbits use clusters of great plains yucca for food and shelter. The Yucca moth uses its flowers for nectar and reproduction; which in turn pollinates the plant. In addition, great plains yucca serve as a host for larval butterflies. Rabbits use the yucca clusters for protection against predators.

Its long, thin leaves point upwards to avoid direct sunlight and to funnel water towards its roots.

The following Yucca are from the Hogback Nature Trail in Lathrop State Park:


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