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Soapweed Yucca is the most abundant Yucca plant in the US. It is a very hardy plant, growing as far north as Alberta, Canada. It's other common names are: Great Plains Yucca, Spanish Bayonet, Beargrass, Small Soapweed and simply Yucca. The standard Latin name is Yucca Glauca. Pollination and seed development in this species is entirely dependent on a curious symbiotic relationship with a Pronuba Moth, which drills into the capsules after they form from the yucca flowers, pollinates them and whose larva feed on the seeds.

Yuccas belong to the same family of plants, Alliaceae, as Alliums (onions, leeks, garlic and etc.s) and Liliums (the over 100 members of the Lily family). Just like Alliums and Lilliums, Yuccas, which are members of the Agavaceae family, are monocots. (Monocot seedlings typically have one seed-leaf, as opposed to two for the dicots.)

These yuccas have huge tuberous roots and once established require no water in the summer. As a result, many old timers in the Great Plains region (between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi river), Soapweed Yucca's native range, found it convenient and aesthetically pleasing to hide their farmstead wellheads by planting these yuccas next to them. This is where my yucca clump is planted, as well.

The Yucca Glauca was given its Latin name by an English naturalists Thomas Nuttall in an October 1813 catalog of new seeds “for curious American plants” available at the Fraser Brothers Nursery in Chelsea, England. According to Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for the Gardener, glauca means, “having bloom, the fine, whitish, powdery coating which occurs on certain leaves.” American Indians made soap and shampoo from this abundant yucca's roots, which is the source of the "Soapweed Yucca" common name.

This year, the first of the flower spikes on my yucca clump began blooming in the second half of May. (The flowers and young seedpods are said to be edible.) Those flowers are now spent, but other spikes are just getting started now. I took the attached picture of a particularly pretty yucca spike full of flowers for everyone to enjoy on June 4th, 2009.

Soapweed Yucca (Yucca Glauca)

Soapweed Yucca (Yucca Glauca)

I was wondering where exactly soapweed yucca's distribution is in Alberta because I am from Alberta and I have never seen one. The flower spike is used for hand drill fire spindle-see the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiKVq_-ne0Q&feature=PlayList&p=F59018B07EE13E6D&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=28

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