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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Agavaceae | Yucca

8. Yucca gloriosa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 319. 1753.

Plants forming colonies of rosettes, caulescent, arborescent, simple or more often branching. Stems erect, to 5 m. Leaf blade erect or recurving, green or blue-green, lanceolate or sword-shaped, flattened, concave distally, thin, 40–100 × 3.5–6 cm, rigid or flexible, glaucous at least when young, margins entire or roughly and minutely denticulate, often becoming filiferous with straight fibers, yellow or brown, opaque. Inflorescences paniculate, arising partly within to well beyond rosettes, ovoid to ellipsoid, 5–12 × 4.5 dm, glabrous or pubescent; peduncle scapelike, 0.9–1.5 m. Flowers pendent; perianth globose to campanulate; tepals distinct, white to creamy white or greenish white, sometimes tinged with purple, elliptic to narrowly ovate, 4–5 × 2–2.5 cm; filaments ca. 2.6 cm, hispid or slightly papillose; anthers ca. 3.5 mm; pistil light green, ca. 3.6 cm; ovary sessile, ca. 2.8 cm; style ca. 9 mm; stigmas separate; pedicel to 2 cm, often arching. Fruits erect or pendent, baccate, with core, indehiscent, 6-winged or 6-ribbed, elongate, 2.5–8 cm, leathery. Seeds black, lustrous, ovate, thin, 5–8 mm diam. 2n = 50.

Varieties 2 (2 in the flora): se United States.

Yucca gloriosa has a growth habit similar to that of Y. aloifolia, except that the former appears more moundlike due to the terminal branching mode, whereas the latter appears more open because the branching is more median on the trunk.

1 Leaf blade mostly erect, rigid; inflorescences extending well beyond rosettes; berries pendent, 5.5–8 cm.   8a var. gloriosa
+ Leaf blade mostly recurving, flexible; inflorescences barely extending beyond rosettes; berries mostly erect, 2.5–4.5 cm.   8b var. recurvifolia


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