Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Yucca rigida, Blue Yucca

Blue Yucca has beautiful large white flowers on a 3-foot (1 m) flowering stalk (inflorescence). The large dramatic trees may grow as high as 12 feet (2 m) or more. Yucca rigida Blue Yucca is a beautiful upright tree with 3 or more erect branches. Yucca rigida co. Northern species reach within several hundred miles of Big Bend Ranch State Park in Texas. Yucca rigida Blue Yucca are found in Creosote-Yucca desert shrub in limestone soils. The prefer high elevations in mountainous areas in the Chihuahua Desert. Yucca rigida

Scientific Name: Yucca rigida
Common Name: Blue Yucca

Also Called: (Spanish: Izote Azul, Palmilla, Palmita, Sotol, Yuca)

Family: Agavaceae, Agave or Century Plant Family (Reclassified to Asparagaceae)

Synonyms: (Yucca rigida var. inermis, Yucca rupicola var. rigida)

Status: Native to northern and central Mexico in the Chihuahua Desert.

Duration: Perennial

Size: Up to 12 feet (3.65 m) or more tall and 5 feet (1.5 m) wide.

Growth Form: Tree; plants solitary and erect, arborescent usually with 1 stem or trunk and 3 or more erect branches with maturity.

Leaves: Green, blue-green (glaucous), evergreen, leaves very rigid, straight (linear or lanceolate) up to 2 feet in length, leaves emerge in clusters on the new growth of the stems or branches, leaf tips very sharp.

Flower Color: White on long flowering stalks (inflorescence) that may reach up to 3 feet or more.

Flowering Season: March to April

Elevation: 5,000 to 18,000 feet (1,524 to 5,486 m) in the highest Chihuahua Desert areas in northern Mexico.

Habitat Preferences: Found in Larrea-Yucca desert shrub in limestone soils; high elevations in mountainous areas in the Chihuahua Desert.

Recorded Range: Blue Yucca is found in northern and central Mexico in the Chihuahua Desert in southeastern Chihuahua southward into Durango, Mexico. It is included in Southwest Desert Flora because it is a Chihuahuan Desert species in SW North America and extends within very close proximity to Big Bend Ranch State Park in Texas.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Yucca faxoniana - Not found in the United States; northern and central Mexico species.

U.S. Weed Information: Not found in the United States.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Not found in the United States.
Wetland Indicator: Not found in the United States.
Threatened/Endangered Information: Not found in the United States.

Genus Information: In North America there are 28 species and 45 accepted taxa overall for Yucca. World wide, The Plant List includes 49 accepted species names and includes a further 196 infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 8 species of Yucca, California has 3 species, Nevada has 5 species, New Mexico has 10 species, Texas has 18 species, Utah has 7 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: Blue Yucca is a beautiful, striking Yucca often used as a premiere landscape plant in the southwestern United States. It is native to northern Mexico in southeastern Chihuahua southward into Durango.

When used as a landscape plant one should exercise extreme caution while handling the branches which are dangerous because they are so stiff and sharp. It would be wise to keep the plants aways from heavily traveled areas.

In Southwestern Desert Flora also see: Banana Yucca, Yucca baccata; Beaked Yucca, Yucca rostrata; Eve's Needle, Yucca faxoniana; Joshua Tree, Yucca brevifolia and Soaptree Yucca, Yucca elata.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
The sweet oblong fruits of Yucca species, and their seeds as well are fed on by birds, deer, small mammals and nectar-feeding bats.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Yucca's attract many butterflies, moths and insects however actually records appear absent for this species in particular. Yucca Moths of the genus Tegeticula are known to pollinate Yucca flowers. - Find out more from (BOMONA) Butterflies and Moths of North America.

The genus Yucca is from the Carib (Island Carib, South America) name for "manihot" or "cassava" which is a Euphorbia genus erroneously applied to the Yucca genus because of the lily-like appearance of the sword-like leaves. The genus Yucca was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.

The species epithet "rigida" is a reference to its stiff rigid leaves.

The fruit of many species of large members of the Yucca genus have been used as a food source, raw, roasted or dried and ground into meal. The plant leaves may also have been used as a fiber in basketry, cloth, mats, ropes and sandals.

Date Profile Completed: 01/05/2020
USDA Plants Database - (accessed 01/03/2020).
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 01/03/2020).
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 01/05/2020).
Chris Martin, Professor and Head, Science and Mathematics Faculty, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts; Arizona State University; (accessed 01/03/2020). - as Yucca thompsoniana
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information. (accessed 01/01/2020).

ETYMOLOGY: Michael L. Charters; California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology; (accessed 01/05/2020)