Benny's Yucca Page.
Yucca sp. maybe a hybrid, was found in a road side in Italy

This page is a short note about the history of the cultivation of Yucca plants.


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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 Yucca 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 Yucca names 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 Yucca, 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 Yucca filamentosa which both was described by Carl Linné  in 1753 (or Carloleus Linneaus as he was called at that time!). The next was 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.

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Benny Møller Jensen