Yucca Candelabra

Yucca Candalabria

Yucca candelabra © 2012 Bo Mackison

Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grasses, brooks . . . We learned to do what only the students of nature ever learn, and that was to feel beauty.    ~ Luther Standing Bear

Yuccas are a common plant in the United States Southwest, so common that it is the state flower of New Mexico.

The leaves of the Yucca are long, narrow, and come to a sharp point. (I have proof – deep scratches on my arms. When will I learn!!)

Fibers of the yucca can be used to make rope and loosely woven textiles. The thick root can be beaten into a lathery pulp which is then used for soap and shampoo. It was a plant that was frequently planted near homesteads and encampments for its usefulness.

When the yucca blossoms, creamy-colored, bell shaped flowers hang in loosely arranged clusters. If the flowers are pollinated, seed-filled capsules develop. The yucca then dies after flowering and fruiting, but produces offshoots that spread out from the mother plant and develop into new plants.

The yuccas only known pollinator is the yucca moth. The female yucca moth has a specialized mouth to collect the pollen.  She lays her eggs in the yucca flower and covers the eggs with a ball of pollen. The pollen fertilizes the seeds which then begin to develop. The moth’s larvae require the yucca seeds for growth and development. Both species, the yucca and the yucca moth, benefit from the exchange. This inter-dependence on each other for survival is termed mutualism.

It is quite a lovely thing, to walk or drive down nearly any street and see the yucca blossoms swinging high in the air, atop the yucca stalk.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC, living and photographing in southern Arizona. She is happy to see  so many plants in bloom.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Joanne Keevers says:

    The yukka’s in Australia have the same leaves as this one, but the rest looks different! I’ve never seen a flowering yukka before and the stem of the one in the photo looks different to ours. There must be a number of varieties of yukka’s, I think!

    The title of this post is so appropriate ~ “Yukka Candelabra”. 🙂

  2. Thank-you for this little bit of education about the Yucca. Altho I’ve heard a lot about them..I know very little. And – thanks for the visual. Now I know!

  3. Anna Surface says:

    I just love the yucca and it has been years since seeing yucca. I hope to see the yucca as well as Arizona again in the near future. I can imagine it is lovely to see the yucca blossoms while on a walk. Enjoyed the post! 🙂

  4. It is nice to see yucca again. I’ve always liked them.

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