of Stanford Trees, Shrubs, and Vines
Yucca schottii Engelm. MOUNTAIN YUCCA. Arizona
This beautuful plant is the most common yucca in the Arizona
Garden. Its key field characteristics are consistent with the description in Irish
(2000). The rigid leaves lack filaments on the leaf margins, easily distinguishing
it from Y. schidigera. Irish's treatment describes
accurately the habit and leaves seen in the campus population:
AGAVACEAE (Agave family)
Medium-sized species 6-20 ft tall,
often with a single trunk that has a few simple branches. The dark brown trunk
is usually 8-12 inches wide [and much wider on the largest individual in the
Arizona Garden, which has fallen over] and may be clear of dead leaves. The
leaves are blue-green to gray-green in color, smooth to the touch, and slightly
shiny. They are 1.5-3 ft l. and 1-2.5 in. wide and usually are straight and
rigid but can be slightly curved. [campus individuals show both straight and
curved leaves.] They are concave in cross section and are lined with an attractive
light-brown stripe. They end in a sharp light brown terminal spine. (Irish,
McKelvey (1938) wrote, regarding Y. schottii, quoting Sargent:
This is probably the least known
of all our Yuccas in cultivation. There are a few noble specimens, however,
in the gardens of Tucson, Arizona, and seeds have been distributed last year
from the Arnold Arboreteum." It grew in the Arboretum of Stanford University
as specimens collected by Dudley in 1897 and 1899 testify.
Yucca aloifolia | Yucca filifera | Yucca
recurvifolia | Yucca schottii | Yucca
schidigera | Yucca whipplei
Illustrations (links open new windows): gallery
Name derivation, genus | species Haitian: yuca, or manihot,
because young inflorescences sometimes roasted for food | schot'tii: after Arthur Carl Victor Schott (1814-1875), one of the naturalists of the Mexican Boundary Survey.
- Engelmann. 1873. Acad. Sci.
St. Louis Trans 3: 46.
- McKelvey, Susan. 1938. Yuccas
of the Southwestern United States. Jamaica Plain: Arnold Arboretum, 1938.
- Shreve, Forrest and Ira Wiggins.
1951. Vegetation and Flora of the Sonoran Desert. Stanford, CA: Stanford University
Press. Vol. 1. pp. 351+
- Webber, John. 1953. Yuccas of the Southwest. USDA.
- Irish, Mary. 2000. Agaves, yuccas,
and related plants: a gardener's guide. Portland, Or.: Timber Press.
- Lenz, L. W. and M. A. Hanson.
2000. Typification and change in status of Yucca schottii (Agavaceae). Aliso
19:93-98. Comment from Flora of North America: "Yucca madrensis is closely related to Y. jaliscensis
to the south and the Y. schottii complex to the north. We follow L.
W. Lenz and M. A. Hanson (2000), who have determined that plants with long,
wide, flexible, blue leaves that are now usually identified as Y. schottii
Engelmann (not congruent with Engelmann's original description) are more correctly
referred to Y. madrensis. Lenz and Hanson further suggested that what
is now called Y. schottii represents a hybrid complex among Y. baccata,
Y. elata, and Y. madrensis. This putative hybridization is conjectural,
and without firm evidence we are uncertain as to the appropriate disposition
of the name Y. schottii. We are somewhat skeptical of the potential
for crosses between baccate species (Y. baccata and Y. madrensis)
and capsular species (Y. elata)."
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