Yucca , is a succulent plant of the Yucca genus, composed of 35 to 50 species of the Agavoideae family .
Natives of North and Central America, characterized by their rosettes of leaves in the shape of swords and their clusters of white flowers.
It should not be confused with cassava or edible cassava .
The great majority of the species of the genus are found in the arid and semi-arid zones of the United States and Mexico.
From a morphological point of view, these are perennial, succulent, acaulescent, shrubby or arborescent plants.
It is a fairly small plant, with rosettes up to 25 cm in diameter. They measure between 60 cm and 3 meters high and a wingspan of 60 to 100 cm.
It grows slowly, about 15 to 30 cm annually.
Of ascending leaves, in general, grouped towards the ends of the stems, more or less rigid, flat or convex, yellowish-green, green or glaucous.
Sometimes fluted, with smooth, dentate or fibrous margins and acute apex.
The flowers or the panicle inflorescence is erect or pendulous.
Campanulas or globosa flowers, with six curved tepals, free or slightly united at their base.
Creamy white, sometimes with pink or purple tints.
The fruit can be as fleshy, berry, as dry and fluffy.
Lighting and temperature.
The Yuccas need a good and abundant lighting. They are good to be outdoors in summer, in sunny areas.
In winter, they do not like high temperature or excess heat, between 7º and 12ºC. In summer, in sunny areas and ventilated wing free.
Irrigation, fertilization and pruning.
Water abundantly in summer, two to three times a week. In winter we will water every 10 days.
As for the fertilizer , let it be diluted ,liquid fertilizer in the irrigation water in the summer months. It is advisable to apply half of the dose indicated by the fertilizer manufacturer, maintaining a good substrate .
The Yucca appreciates that the leaves are sprinkled with water, weekly in summer, when outdoors. Take into account the good drainage of the pot.
The main attraction of the Yucca, is its appearance and hardiness, prepared for water conservation, require not too much irrigation.
This causes the Yuccas to be widely cultivated as ornamental plants.
Both the stems, as the fruits of many species, are edible, although it is difficult to observe this use.
No pruning is necessary, just remove the dead leaves that remain in the lower part of the plant.
How Yucca is reproduced
Particularly interesting is the cassava pollination system.
There is a relationship between the Yuccas and several species of Lepidoptera, known as the “Yucca Butterfly”.
These insects are responsible for transporting pollen from the stamens of the male flower, to the stigma of the female.
At the same time and taking advantage of the plant, it deposits its eggs in the ovary of the flower.
When the caterpillar of the butterfly is born, it feeds on the seeds of the plant, but leaves enough for it to reproduce.
The Yucca reproduce so much sexually that is, by seed, as vegetatively, that is, by shoots.
In the natural environment, the association between the Yucca species and their coevolutionary pollinator and parasite of their seeds, the yucca butterfly, is known.
Frequently the shoots originate in relatively young plants.
As the suckers grow as quickly as the mother plant, they reproduce those groups of individuals, which seem to have been born almost together.
Other times the shoots are produced in the main trunk of the mother plant, by breaking its branches.
Sometimes the downed branches emit roots and buds, forming a new plant.
It is necessary to take into account the phenomenon of the hybridization of the Yucca, from which numerous hybrid species were produced.
Here is a video on how to reproduce and transplant it.
When the Yucca is young, transplant from pot once a year. After three or four years, replace the substrate or compost.
When the substrate changes , leave the Yucca in the shade for a couple of days, so that the root system is stimulated and new roots are generated in the compost .
Plagues and diseases.
An evil or disease that usually affects the Yucca, is the yellowing of the leaves, starting with the leaves of the lower part. This problem is due to the lack of lighting or insufficient lighting.
Change it to a more lighted or sunny place.
Gray mold. Botrytis
The presence of gray mold or botrytis , is a fungal attack on the leaves, which must be treated with sulfur dusted.
You should put the plant in more aerated areas.
The appearance of the plague of cochineals , occurs on the underside of the leaves of the Yucca, mainly.
If you can, remove them one by one with a cotton swab or cloth soaked in methyl alcohol. You can also apply a commercial systemic insecticide .
What uses has the Yucca.
It is a genre that has been widely used since pre-Hispanic times.
Some people use the root as a substitute for soap.
In addition, it has medicinal uses of the roots, such as laxatives, purgatives, etc.
There trunks are also used as livestock fodder and as fuel it is often pruned as an architectural ornamental plants,
At present, the use of the Yucca parts for example, the extract of this plant, which is used as naturopathic medicine, as a foaming and flavoring agent, in the soft drink and food industry.
But its most widespread use is as an ingredient of food in the poultry, swine, bovine and aquaculture species.
It is also used in the pet food industry.
Another use is for the treatment of wastewater and organic waste for the reduction of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and bad odors.