Yucca Baccata [YUK-uh] [BAK-ah-tuh] is a species of yucca belonging to the Asparagaceae plant family.
It is a plant native to northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States.
Baccata is part of the flora of North America and found from southeastern California, north of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and south of Sonora and Chihuahua.
This type of yucca trees are commonly referred to as the Banana Yucca.
The common name Banana Yucca is a reference to the small, banana-shaped fruit the plant bears.
This fruit is said to be a historic food source for the Native Americans.
It is a fairly hardy plant with many edible and non-edible uses making it a useful, as well as a beautiful addition to your garden.
Other common names include:
- Spanish bayonet
- Blue Yucca
- Datil Yucca
Banana Yucca Care
Size and Growth
Banana Yucca has a slow growth rate while it is establishing itself.
However, once established, this North American native plant has a moderate growth rate and can grow to be as tall as 4′ feet tall with a spread of 6′ feet.
The flower stalk grows from the middle of the plant reaching about 6’ feet tall.
The leaves of the yucca plants are curved and narrow with a length of 2’ to 3’ feet. The plant is hardy to grow in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 11.
Flowering and Fragrance
Banana Yucca is characterized by long, stiffly growing dark green leaves with small white fibers along the margins of the leaf.
It blooms in the spring and summer with white to cream flower color, bell-shaped edible flowers.
The plant also bears sweet, fleshy fruit, shaped slightly like a short, greenish-purple banana and is said to taste much like sweet potatoes.
Light and Temperature
This plant enjoys plenty of light and can tolerate full sun.
However, light shade is also agreeable and the plant should be fine as long as it is getting six hours of sunlight daily.
Since this is a desert plant it is hardy in hot climates but also surprisingly hardy when it comes to the cold.
It can tolerate temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Feeding
Banana Yucca is a drought tolerant plant, however, it enjoys regular waterings.
Watering once a week during the hotter months should be enough to encourage healthy growth. Be careful not to overwater.
If the tips of the plant turn brown – you’ve gone too far. Reduce watering.
Feed plants during the spring season with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer.
Soil and Transplanting
Any well-drained soil is going to work for Banana Yucca.
However, it prefers drier, poor, sandy soil. Just make sure the plant is not sitting in waterlogged soil and it should be fine.
Grooming and Maintenance
Remove older flower stalks before the blooming season.
As the leaves are incredibly sharp, it is advisable to wear gloves and long sleeve shirts to protect yourself from cuts.
How to Propagate Banana Yucca
Propagate Banana Yucca by using offsets or leaf cuttings from a mature plant.
Also, grow plants from seeds but this is a riskier choice as the seeds may take up to four weeks to germinate.
Baccata Yucca Pests or Disease Problems
This plant is susceptible to spider mites. They can be easily managed through insecticidal sprays.
Keep in mind, this plant can be dangerous to have around pets and small children. The sharpness of the blades can easily cut through the skin.
Suggested Yucca Banana Uses
This yucca plant is great for growing in containers and looks attractive when planted as an ornamental accent plant in the garden.
It can also be used as a barrier plant because of its sharp leaves.
Banana yucca is edible and the fruit it bears can be roasted or baked after taking out the seeds. It tastes similar to sweet potato.
The fibers along the leaves can be gathered, soaked, and used to make strings and threads while the blades of leaves can be used to weave into baskets or make brushes.
The roots of the plant are also said to be used as a natural soap.