This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
This is the largest and most striking of the hardy Yuccas. It is, in fact, an evergreen shrub, growing two to five feet high, with its woody stem or trunk, clothed with tares almost to the ground. The end of each leaf is terminated by a dark spine, which has given rise to the popular name of " Adam's Needle." The leaves are broad, stiff, and dark green, and hare much of the picturesque effect of those of the Aloe. The flower stalk is generally about four feet high, branching out symmetrically on every side, (see fig. from Arb. Brit.,) but in strong plants is frequently much higher than a man's head. The blossoms, which open in July and August, are bell shaped, pale white within, marked by a pale purple stripe on the outside of the petals.
The Adams' Needle is a native of both North and South America, being found wild as Jar north as Virginia, and as far south as Carthagena. Though not growing naturally, farther north than the former state, it is perfectly hardy as far north as Lake Erie - or wherever the peach ripiens regularly. About Washington, we hare noticed it in the fine pleasure grounds of Wm. Stone, Esq., growing most luxuriantly, springing up and flow* ering along the sides of the garden walks, with little or no care. About New York it sue seeds best in a perfectly dry subsoil - a deep sandy loam. Where it needs any protection, it is only that of a few branches of evergreens to keep off the sun. There is a variety of Y.gleriosa called superba - rather rarely seen, even in our best collections, which is stilt finer - being of taller and more tree-like growth, and bearing a greater profusion of pure white flowers.