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What is a Yucca Glauca?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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Yucca glauca is a species of yucca native to central North America. The plant's native range spans much of the Great Plains region, where it continues to be quite abundant, and it is also grown ornamentally outside its native range. This plant thrives in USDA zones four through eight, and does especially well in low water gardens, for gardeners looking for plants which they can cultivate while saving water.

This member of the agave family is also known as soapweed yucca, small soapweed, beargrass, or simply yucca. It has long, narrow leaves with a bluish cast, and a tall flower stalk which produces numerous creamy flowers. Some animals use Yucca glauca as a forage plant, although it cannot be used as the sole source of nutrition by livestock or other animals.

One problem with Yucca glauca is that it can be come invasive. Outside its native range, if it likes the conditions, it will rapidly grow and spread, and it can be difficult to eradicate. For this reason, people should be careful before establishing a Yucca glauca plant in their gardens, to avoid ending up with a plant which will become a problem in the future. This issue should also be considered when gardening in an area with sensitive native species, as bringing in an invasive exotic could be an unwise decision.

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In its native range, Yucca glauca can take advantage of openings in the ecosystem to take over if it is happy where it is growing. When land is cleared, for example, Yucca glauca can seed itself and cover the land very quickly. The plant can also colonize in the wake of a fire or similar event which has temporarily unbalanced the native plant population. In these situations, it is a good idea to contain the Yucca while promoting native plants so that the ecosystem will remain diverse.

People who are interested in growing soapweed yucca can purchase specimen plants at garden stores or through nurseries which specialize in plants which like arid regions. When planting a yucca glauca, people should remember that the flower stalk can grow quite tall, and that the rosette of leaves likes to sprawl out over time, so the plant should not be established in a crowded corner of the garden. Maintaining a Yucca glauca as a specimen planting can also be used to create a zone around the plant which will make it easier to contain if it starts to get adventurous.

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