This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Large plants, with a short sometimes subterranean caudex, or tall woody and leafy stem, or bracted scape, the leaves linear or lanceolate, usually rigid and sharp-pointed, bearing long marginal thread-like fibers in our species. Flowers large, bracted, nodding in a terminal raceme or panicle. Perianth campanulate, or nearly globular, white in our species, of 6 ovate, or ovate-lanceolate separate or slightly united segments. Stamens hypogynous, shorter than the perianth; filaments thickened above, often papillose; anthers small, versatile. Ovary sessile, 3-celled; or imperfectly 6-celled; ovules numerous; style columnar, short, with 3 stigmatic lobes. Fruit a loculicidal or septicidal capsule, or fleshy, or spongy and indehiscent. Seeds numerous, flattened, horizontal. [The Haytien name.]
About 16 species, natives of North and Central America. Type species: Yucca aloifolia L.
Fruit fleshy, indehiscent, drooping.
Fruit an erect capsule.
Leaves 2"-6" wide; scape short, bearing a long raceme.
Leaves 10" - 2' wide; scape 2°-10° high, bearing a large panicle.
Yucca baccata Torr. Bot. Mex. Bound. Surv. 221. 1859.
Caudex very short, or sometimes 2°-8° tall, covered with the reflexed dead leaves. Leaves 1 1/2°-3° long, 1'-2' wide with a much wider base, acuminate, with a stout brown point, concave, the marginal fibers 2'-5' long; panicle peduncled; pedicels stout, 8"-20" long; flowers 4'-5' broad; perianth-segments 2 1/2'-3 1/2' long, 8"-12" wide; style slender, as long as the ovary, or shorter; fruit oval, dark purple, fleshy, indehiscent, edible, drooping, 2'-3' long, 1 1/2-2' in diameter, with a 6-grooved beak of one-half its length or less; seeds 3"-8" long, 1"-1 1/2" thick.
Western Kansas (?), southern Colorado to Texas, California and Mexico. Hosh-kawn. April-June. Fruit ripe Sept.-Oct.
Yucca glauca Nutt. Fraser's Cat. 1813.
Yucca angustifolia Pursh, Fl. Am. Sept. 227. 1814.
Caudex very short, the leaves all basal, narrowly linear, smooth, very stiff, sharp-pointed, 1°-3° long, 3"-6" wide, with a broader base, concave, at least when dry, the marginal fibers filiform, usually numerous; scape short; flowers greenish-white, 1 1/2-3' broad, racemose or in a little-branched panicle 13°-6° long; perianth-segments ovate, 1'-1 1/2' long; style short, green; stigmas shorter than the ovary; pedicels stout, erect and l'-l 1/2' long in fruit; capsule oblong, 2'-3' long, about 1' thick, 6-sided; seeds very flat, about ¥ broad.
In dry soil, Iowa and South Dakota to Montana, south to Missouri, Texas and Arizona. Adam's-needle. Palmillo. May-June.
Yucca arkansana Trelease, with grass-like flexible leaves, growing from Arkansas to Texas, may occur in southern Missouri.
Yucca filamentosa L. Sp. PI. 319. 1753.
Caudex very short, or sometimes 1° high. Leaves lanceolate, narrowed above the broad base, acuminate and sharp-pointed, flat, roughish, 1°-2 1/2° long, 9'-2' wide; scape 2°-10° high; panicle large, its branches divergent or ascending, the lower often 1° long or more; flowers numerous; perianth-segments 1 1/2'-2 1/4' long, ovate; stigmas slender, but shorter than the ovary; pedicels rarely more than $' long; capsule oblong, \\'-2' long, about 10" thick.
In sandy soil, Maryland to Florida, Tennessee and Louisiana. Much cultivated for ornament. Escaped from gardens in southern Pennsylvania. Bear's-thread, thread-and-needle. Eve's-darning-needle. May-July.