Yucca xschottii

Common Name: Narrow Leaf Banana Yucca
Oˊodham Name: howij   Audio
Group: Succulents - Desert

Yucca xschottii forms a short, shaggy trunk that is seldom more than 3 feet tall. This species grows in gravelly desert plains within a limited area at 2500 to 3000 ft elevation on the plains north of Kitt Peak. The leaves are used for fiber and thread, and the large white flowers are a favorite food of desert deer. Also see Yucca elata.  Yucca xschottii is a natural hybrid between Yucca baccata (Banana Yucca) and Yucca elata. This reclassification is indicated in the species description by (pro sp.), which means that it has been reclassified at the rank of hybrid from the previous rank of species.

Yucca flowers open at night to be pollinated by "yucca moths" of the genera Parategiticula and Tegiticula through a tight symbiotic relationship know as mutualism. The moth cross-pollinates the flowers of one plant with pollen from another plant by simultaneously depositing the pollen and its eggs deep inside the ovary. The moth larvae later hatch to feed upon some of the abundant seed. Thus, both species depend upon each other for their own reproduction. Flowers and fruit are also eaten by deer and the seeds are collected by desert rodents. Leaves produce fiber that is used for weaving. Also see Yucca elata.

Yucca flowers are edible as soup or salad. The white flowers turn into a green eggplant-shaped fruit which ripens to a deep purple by late summer or early fall, depending on the weather. After harvesting, the fruit is sliced open and the black seeds removed. The pulp is then scraped from the inside of the skin. It can be dried and saved for winter months. The roots can be used for designs in basket weaving. Deer consider Yucca fruit a delicacy.

Yucca schottii

Kingdom Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida - Monocotyledons
Subclass Liliidae
Order Liliales
Family Agavaceae - Century-plant family
Genus Yucca L. - yucca
Species Yucca xschottii Engelm. (pro sp.) [baccata x elata] - Schottˊs yucca
More Information
USDA Plant Profile and Map
Yucca Pollination by Yucca Moths

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