Yucca filamentosa L.

TSO logo

Sponsor this page

For information about how you could sponsor this page, see How You Can Help


Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Yucca filamentosa' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/yucca/yucca-filamentosa/). Accessed 2024-05-26.


Common Names

  • Spoonleaf Yucca


  • Yucca concava Haw.
  • Y. filamentosa var. concava (Haw.) Bak.


Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.


There are no active references in this article.


Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Yucca filamentosa' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/yucca/yucca-filamentosa/). Accessed 2024-05-26.

A low evergreen shrub, the stem of which does not rise above ground-level, and which increases and spreads by means of side-growths from the base. Leaves stiffly erect or spreading, 1 to 212 ft long, 112 to 4 in. wide, rather abruptly narrowed at the apex, where the margins are usually infolded. From the margins of the leaves, curly thread-like filaments 2 to 3 in. long break away, and are especially numerous towards the base. Flowers pendulous, yellowish white, 2 to 3 in. across, produced during July and August in erect, conical, glabrous panicles 3 to 6 ft high, looser and broader than in either Y. gloriosa or Y. recurvifolia. Petals rounded at the apex, then abruptly narrowed to a short tip. Style about 38 in. long.

Native of the coastal plain of the southeastern USA as far north as southern New Jersey, in sand-dunes, waste ground and pine woodland; in cultivation by the second half of the 18th century and probably earlier, but the splitting of Y. filamentosa as once understood into two species makes its early history in gardens uncertain. This is a very hardy and beautiful yucca, forming low tufts from which the stately panicles spring in profusion. It should be planted in broad masses with, if possible, a dark, evergreen background. It flowers in a small state. Easily propagated by division. Some plants grown as Y. filamentosa are Y. smalliana (see below) and in the past there has been confusion between Y. filamentosa and Y. flaccida.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

† cv. ‘Bright Eye. – Leaves edged with bright yellow. Put into commerce by the Gulf Stream Nurseries, USA.


Leaves with a well defined margin of white, becoming duller and pink-tinged. Centre of leaf dark glaucous green, streaked and edged with lines of paler green. In cultivation by the 1860s. It is more tender than the normal form and in Victorian times was often grown under glass, where the variegation was purer, and the leaves less rigid.

Y smalliana Fern.

Y. filamentosa sens . Small (and of other authors, in part), not L

Allied to the preceding, but with thinner, flatter, narrower leaves {7/8} to 1{3/4} in. wide, long-tapered at the apex. Main axis of panicle downy. Flowers to 2 in. long; petals gradually acuminate at the apex. Style very short or none. Native of the southeastern USA as far north as N. Carolina, west to Louisiana and Tennessee. Some plants grown as Y. filamentosa belong here, but so far as is known there is no difference in hardiness, nor much in horticultural value.The American botanist J. K. Small was the first to recognise that Y. filamentosa as understood by earlier authorities really comprised two species. But he assumed that the true Y. filamentosa of Linnaeus was the species described above, and took up the name Y. concava Haworth for the other. However, an examination of the type-specimen of Y. filamentosa, preserved in the herbarium of the British Museum of Natural History showed that Y. concava Haw. was the true Y. filamentosa. The other species therefore needed a new name and this was provided by Fernald in 1944 (Rhodora, Vol. 46, pp. 5–8). The specimen was collected by Clayton in eastern Virginia and was described by Gronovius in Flora Virginica (1739) under a phrase-name. The name Y. filamentosa L. is based on this.