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Tree Campus: Yucca

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b



Yucca flaccida (ASPARAGACEAE)



Central to S.E. USA



"Hummingbirds visit the flowers. Yuccas are pollinated by small, white Yucca moths (Tegeticula yucasella and related species) with which they have a special plant-insect mutualism. At night, the fragrant flowers attract the female moth that feeds on the nectar. She then rolls pollen from the flowers into a ball that is three times the size of her head and carries the pollen ball to the next flower. There, she first lays eggs inside the immature ovary and then deposits the pollen on the flower’s stigma insuring that seeds will form to feed her progeny. Because the larvae mature before they are able to consume all of the seeds (60 to 80% of the seeds remain viable), the plants are able to reproduce as well." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"The Catawba, Cherokee, Nanticoke and other Native American tribes used Yucca filamentosa for a variety of purposes including food, medicine, cordage and even soap. The roots, which contain saponin, were prepared by boiling and pounding for use as soap. Roots were beaten into a salve or poultice that would then be used to treat sprains or applied to sores on the skin. The roots were used to treat gonorrhea and rheumatism. Skin diseases were treated by rubbing the roots on the skin and by taking a decoction of the roots. The plant was used as a sedative to induce sleep. An infusion of the plant was used to treat diabetes. The flowers were eaten both raw and cooked. The pounded roots were thrown into fishing waters to “intoxicate fishers” allowing for easier catch. The green leaves are easily split into long strips that can be plied into cord. The leaves have long, very strong fibers, a type of sisal, which were twisted into strong thread used as cordage for binding and to construct baskets, fishing nets, fishing lines and clothing." [1]



"The leaves of Yucca filamentosa contain the strongest fibers native to North America... The flowers are used for corsages."



[1] Anderson, K. (2001). ADAM’S NEEDLE Yucca filamentosa. USDA NRCS Plant Guide.

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