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CHAPARRAL YUCCA

Hesperoyucca whipplei

Chumash: štakuk Español: Mescal, Maguey

Plant Description

Category: Succulent

Origin: Chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and oak woodland plant communities

Evergreen: Yes

Flower Color: Cream, Pink, Purple or White with a large flower stalk

Bloomtime: Spring

Height: 6 inches to 3 feet

Esposure: Full sun

Irrigation: Drought tolderant

Alternate Names: Our Lord’s Candle, Quixote Yucca, Spanish Bayonet

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Chaparral Yucca is often referred to as Our Lord’s Candle because when it sends up its large flower stalk and blooms it looks like a candle in the landscape. It ranges from Southern California into Baja. It produces a stemless cluster of long, rigid leaves which end in a sharp point. The leaf edges are finely saw-toothed. It often grows in sandy washes in the desert or inland valleys.

The plant takes 5-10 years to grow and then it sends out its long flowering stalk as a final goodbye. The plant waits until the flowers have been pollinated and the seed pods are formed before it dies. Yucca has a symbiotic relationship with the California yucca moth (Tegeticula maculata) and attracts other moths as well. The flowers are edible although sometimes bitter. The seed pods and seeds have been used by Native Americans throughout Southern California as a food source. The leaves are a great source of fiber for ropes, sandals etc and the stalk is edible as well. The leaves and roots are high in saponins and have traditionally been used as soap or shampoo.

For Additional Information About this Plant

Key to Native Plant Symbols 

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