parallel veined; basal; simple; stiff, long, sharp-pointed leaves; strong fibers in leaves; 3 bell-shaped (white to cream to greenish and tinged with purple) petals; 3 white or green sepals; 6 stamens; 3 stigmas; perfect; flowers
This plant has a deep taproot (at least 30' long). Yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Many species of yucca also bear edible parts, including fruits, seeds, flowers, flowering stems, and more rarely roots. References to yucca root as food often stem from confusion with the similarly spelled but botanically unrelated yuca, also called cassava (Manihot esculenta). Roots of soaptree yucca (Yucca elata) are high in saponins and are used as a shampoo in Native American rituals. Dried yucca leaves and trunk fibers have a low ignition temperature, making the plant desirable for use in starting fires via friction.