Asparagaceae (asparagus family) Yucca

Yucca whipplei our Lord’s candle

S California, Baja California

Small specimen recently planted in Arizona Garden. Wilson reported a now lost specimen in the Arizona Garden and estimated it was planted about 1930. Albert Wilson (1938) Distintive Trees, Shrubs, and Vines in the Gardens of the San Francisco Peninsula.

It is native to S Sierra Nevada (especially E slope), S South Coast Ranges, Southwestern California, SW edge Mojave Desert.

Name derivation: Yucca – Haitian: yuca, or manihot, because young inflorescences sometimes roasted for food; whipplei – named for Lt. Amiel Weeks Whipple (1817–1863), a topographical engineer/surveyor who commanded the Pacific Railroad Survey from Fort Smith, Arkansas to Los Angeles in 1853 and 1854 searching for a potential route for a transcontinental railroad. [from California Plant Names]

About this Entry: John Rawlings authored/updated the text ca. 2005–2013.