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Yucca baccata

Yucca baccata

Yucca baccata

Yucca baccata is the New Mexico state flower.

Yuca baccata

Yucca baccata

Yucca baccata (Broad Leaf Yucca, Banana Yucca) 
Asparagaceae (Asparagus Family)
Synonym: Agavaceae (Agave Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, canyons, openings. Spring, summer.
Hovenweep Canyon, June 1, 2007 and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 19, 2010.

Yucca baccata is a very common plant of the Four Corners area and along with Sagebrush and the Pinyon Pine/Juniper forests it is symbolic of the area. Yucca baccata presents a massive and solid stature with beautiful symmetry. Leaves are broad, long, stiff, and sharp and flowers are large and creamy thick.

We may enjoy the beauty of Yucca baccata, but in ages gone by, the plant was prized for its uses.  The Anasazi used Yucca baccata leaves for sandals and cord, the roots for soap, and the flower and fruit for food.

"Baccata" is Latin for "with berries".

Yucca baccata
Yucca baccata (Broad Leaf Yucca, Banana Yucca
Asparagaceae (Asparagus Family)
Synonym: Agavaceae (Agave Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, canyons, openings. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 25, 2010.

Flowers are thick, pendulant, and barely exceed the leaves.

Yucca baccata
Yucca baccata (Broad Leaf Yucca, Banana Yucca
Asparagaceae (Asparagus Family)
Synonym: Agavaceae (Agave Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, canyons, openings. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, September 10, 2010.

The fruits of Yucca baccata are eaten raw, steamed, or sautéed and were a significant source of nourishment for the Anasazi. The fruits pictured are not yet full-sized and mature. Depending on rainfall, the fruits might elongate another fifty percent.

Yucca baccata
Yucca baccata (Broad Leaf Yucca, Banana Yucca
Asparagaceae (Asparagus Family)
Synonym: Agavaceae (Agave Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, canyons, openings. Spring, summer.
Mesa Verde National Park, Wetherill Road, June 6, 2001.

In the spring of 2001, the first growing season after the 20,000 acre Mesa Verde fire, the roots of several large incinerated Yuccas sprouted four new plants.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Yucca baccata