WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

This small stemless yucca dots the sandy hills and mesas of central and northern NM with rosettes of thin, slightly flexible leaves and bloom stalks to 4-feet tall with a dense, spike-like cluster of creamy flowers. Note the flowers start within or at the top of the leaves, and the leaves are less than 3/8-inch wide.


FLOWERS: May–June. Bloom stalk (scape) 28–51-inches high (70–130 cm). Creamy to greenish, bell-shaped flowers, 2–2 3/4-inches long (5.5–7 cm), on short, non-branching stems along the upper portion of the scape; outer tepals often tinged with purple, style white to light green. Note the length of the flowering portion of the scape is about 1.5–2.5 times longer than the leaves. Fruit is an erect (not dangling) dry, oval to egg-shaped capsule 2–inches long (5 cm), often constricted in the middle, with 3 chambers stacked with black, wafer-like seeds.


LEAVES: Dense basal rosette of narrow, slightly-flexible leaves, 13–26-inches long (33–65 cm) to 3/8-inch wide (1 cm), blades flat on top and convex on bottom, margins white with threads, tip spiny.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly soils, mesas, foothills; desert grasslands and scrub, pinyon-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 3,600–6,900 feet.


RANGE: NM.


SIMILAR SPECIES:  The flowering portion of Bailey’s Yucca, Y. baileyi, (which includes Y. intermedia by some sources) in the nw quarter of NM, is shorter and less than 1.5 times the length of the leaves. The look-alike Soapweed Yucca, Y. glauca, in the ne high plains, has flowers with green stigmas and a loosely-flowered cluster. Taxonomists haven’t settled on a family for Yuccas, much less agreed on a firm division into species of the many populations with intergrading features. Some keys advise determining species more by the general characteristics of the population than by an individual plant’s features.


NM COUNTIES: North and central NM in low– to mid-elevation, arid habitats: Bernalillo, Cibola, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Socorro, Torrance, Valencia.

NARROWLEAF  YUCCA

YUCCA  INTERMEDIA  (YUCCA  BAILEYI  VAR.  INTERMEDIA)

Asparagus Family, Asparagaceae (formerly in Agave Family, Agavaceae)

Perennial shrub

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The flowering portion of the stalk begins within the leaves and is 1.5–2.5 longer than the leaves.

Leaves are slightly flexible and about 1 cm wide, with no curly fibers on the margin.

The fruit is a dry pod, often constricted in the middle; seeds are black, wafer-shaped.

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