Yucca spp. – Yucca

YuccaYucca spp.

Yucca = yoo-ka, from the Carib name for cassava (Mamhol esculinte), originally thought to be of this genus;

Identification: This coarse plant grows from 50 to 120 cm tall and has long spike-like leaves which are often stiff. This appearance has led to the common name “Spanish Bayonets“. The large flowers are greenish- white. The fruit is spongy and dry.

Distribution & Habitat: These plants grow in arid, desert areas from southern Alberta into the United States.

Preparation & Uses: The flowers are edible. Immature seed pods are quite nice when steamed. The root is used in the form of a tea to treat arthritis and gonorrhea. The whole plant is useful for arthritis and I have successfully employed it in my clinic for years. As a hair tonic, it is said to be good for dandruff and to stop baldness. A water extract has shown anti-cancer properties against B1 melanoma in mice. An infusion has shown some use for urethral and prostate inflammation. The fruit was used by some southern Indians to induce vomiting.