It seems like that Yucca is going to be the hit in the 21st.
century, there hasn't been such an interest in this Genus since late 19th.
century. At that time there was made many hybrids mostly by Carl
Sprenger and later by Willy Müller, both where Germans living
in Italy. Most of the hybrids was a mix of Yucca
filamentosa, Yucca flaccida, Yucca
recurvifolia, Yucca gloriosa and
aloifolia. Most if not almost everyone of those hybrids are lost
in cultivation, two world wars and 100 years is hard on cultivated plants.
At the end of the 19th. century and in the beginning of the 20th. century,
there was an trend that every little different looking Yucca should
have it's own scientific name or at least a variety name. And with all
those names there was quite a few different looking "species" to chose
among. I a have been collecting
the past two years and I have found more than 650 names either in old books,
journals, plant lists or seed lists. Many of the names are of course synonyms
or invalid names. I will not go more into the Taxonomic mess in the Genus
but I hope that DNA analysis in the future will help the taxonomists to
solve this mess. As there are probably only between 30 to 55 "good" species
in the nature and many of them has made hybrid swarms or intermediate forms.
Besides the plants in nature, you can add all the hybrids made by man,
and the selected garden forms. So with a little luck there are probably
somewhere between 100 and 150 "different" forms to chose by here in the
beginning of the 21st Century!
The first Yucca to be described was Yucca
aloifolia , Yucca gloriosa, and
filamentosa which both was described by Carl Linné
in 1753 (or Carloleus Linneaus as he was called at that time!). The next
Yucca glauca which was found and
described by Thomas Nuttall in 1813. In 1873 George Engelmann did publish
a lot of new species from the south western U.S.A. In 1902 William Trelease
from Missouri Botanical garden did review the Genus Yucca. The largest
work about the Genus Yucca was made by McKelvey 1937 and 1947, This
work was revised by John Milton Webber in 1953. Now almost fifty years
later Fritz Hochstätter is reviving the Genus Yucca and the
first part (the dehiscent fruited species) was published in May 2000. The
next part (the indehiscent fruited species) will be published in April
2002, followed by a third book within a few years.