Yucca whipplei:

Yucca whipplei grown from seed collected near Santa Barbara California, growing in Craig Howe's garden.
Photo by Craig Howe ©2000-2005.

Yucca whipplei Torrey (1859) in Emory, U.S. and Mex. Bound. Bot. pg. 222, 1859.

Hesperyucca whipplei Baker, Kew Roy. Bot. Gard. Bul. Misc. Inform 5: 8. 1892.
Hesperyucca graminifolia Wood, Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. Proc., p. 167. 1868.
Yucca whipplei var. parishii JONES, M., West. Bot. Contrib. 15: 59,1929
Yucca californica Groenland  Horticole (Paris) 7:434, (1858)
Yucca whipplei ssp. parishii HAINES Madroño 6: 44 "1940" (1941)
Yucca whipplei ssp. typica HAINES, Madroño 6: 44 "1940" (1941)

Unpublished names:
Yucca whipplei ssp. erimica.
Yucca whipplei var. erimica Mesa Garden seed list 199?
Yucca whipplei var. velicata

Subspecies, varieties and forma:
Yucca whipplei ssp caespitosa:

Yucca whipplei ssp. intermedia:

Yucca whipplei ssp. newberryi:

Yucca whipplei var. percursa

Type location:
San Pasqual, San Diego Co., California.

Desert woodlands, Mesas of chamisal, chaparral, on southern and western slopes, often growing with Juniperus californica, from seal level to an altitude of 1400 m (occasionally in montane forest up to 2300 m.!). It's to be found in California the following counties; Los Angeles Co., Kern Co., Monterey Co. (south Central part ) Obispo Co., Orange Riverside Co., San Benito Co. (South Eastern part), San Bernardino Co., San Diego Co., San Lois Co., Santa Barbara Co., Tulare Co., Ventura Co.

Short description of the species:
Plants acaulescent, Monocarpic, (the single rosettes dying after flowering). Rosettes in singles, with 25 to 115 leaves. Leaves, bluish, 25 - 65 cm long, up to 1 to 2 cm wide, margin of the leaves corneous somewhat serrulate, has a very sharp spine at the tip of the leaves, the backside of the leaves scabrous (rough). Inflorescence paniculate, 120 to 500 cm tall. Scape held high above the leaves 50 to 350 cm long. Flowers wide open, 3 to 6,5 cm long, white or with a purple tinge. Fruit 3 to 5 cm long, 1,5 to 3 cm thick, rarely constricted. Seeds black, dull, 0,6 to 0,7 x 0,8 cm, without marginal wing.

Seeds of #1352 Yucca whipplei, California, Los Angeles Co., 2300 m., fh 1180.91, sown 2000.

I have not had any experience with this species yet. But according to David J. Ferguson "It's often reported as hardy, but generally it is NOT hardy beyond USDA Zone 8, even in drier regions with warmer average temperatures The species varies in hardiness, with all varieties able to withstand limited amounts of hard freezing.  The problem is that the plants just can't seem to handle the long winters with repeatedly freezing nights."

Dave has grown plants from along the coast and from south of the San Gabriel/San Bernardino axis, all the way down to Catavinia in Baja California. None of these has been reliably cold hardy in Albuquerque New Mexico, but all of them were capable of surviving a brief exposure of - 10C (12 F) in an unheated greenhouse here.

A friend of mine Tim Behan who lives on Rhode Island has tested Yucca whipplei in the winter of 2000-2001 read his surprising results at one of his web pages.

According to Bollinger (1998) is Yucca whipplei hardy in Europe in protected areas. In Central Europe plants can be grown to flowering size in only 13 years from seeds.

I have tried to grow the plants in pots inside the unheated greenhouse, but our winters are too long with too many days and nights of freezing temperatures. I will however try to grow one of the forms that can be found in the mountane forest just below the snow line, in the bed inside the unheated greenhouse, it may survive inhere?

Yucca whipplei
grown from seed collected near Santa Barbara California, growing in Craig Howe's garden.
Photo by Craig Howe ©2000.


The two plants at the left are Yucca whipplei ssp. newberryi
Lava Falls, inner Grand Canyon, Arizona, 900 m. fh 1179.71,
sown June 1st 1999.
The two plants to the right are  Yucca whipplei ssp. intermedia
Agoura Hills, California 270 m. fh 1179.6, sown June 1st 1999.
Photo from May 19th. 2000.
Photo by Benny Moeller Jensen ©2000-2005.
Yucca whipplei
Grown in Alexander Heim's garden in his Greece.
Copyright 2008  Alexander Heim.


1.        Some authors place Yucca whipplei and it's subspecies in the Genus Hesperoyucca. One of the reasons to this is that the seedlings form a distinct bulb which no other Yucca does. another reason cold also be that Yucca whipplei and it's subspecies are pollinated by another species of Yucca moth which only do feed on Yucca whipplei!

2        In February 2003, I got a note about Yucca whipplei ssp. parishii from Carl Wishner a Biologist from California:

Carl Wishner states that Yucca whipplei ssp. parishii (Jones) Haines, is also described from the southern front of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains. The nominate ssp. whipplei is reported from Orange and Riverside counties south to northern Baja California. There are no corresponding pages for these taxa. None of Haines' described subspecies are recognized in the "Jepson Manual" for California, however, and he continues to recognize them as distinct.

Yucca whipplei ('parishii')
Growing in Agder Natur Museum's Botanical Garden's Greenhouse, Kristiansand, Norway.
Photo by Benny Moeller Jensen ©1999-2005.


BAKER, J. G. (1881) Linnean Society Bot. Journal. Vol. 18:230 (1881) (Yucca whipplei Torrey)
BOLLINGER, Kakteen und and. Sukkulente 49(8): 187-189, (1998).
COVILLE, F. V., 1893, contrb. US Nat. Herb. 4: 203 Yucca whipplei
CLARY, Karen H., (http://www.agavaceae.com/botanik/pflanzen/botanzeige_scan_en.asp?gnr=220&scan=22190&cat=5&name=Hesperoyucca%C2%A0newberryi)
FERGUSON, D.J., in a posting to hardycacti_etc Re: hardy Yucca whipplei Tue, 3 Oct 2000 09:08:20 -0700 (PDT)
GROENLAND (1858) Groenland Revue. Horticole (Paris) 7:434, (1858) (Yucca californica)
MCKELVEY (1947)  Yuccas southwest. U.S. 2: 23-49 (1947) (Yucca whipplei)
MCKELVEY (1947)  Yuccas southwest. U.S. 2:49 (1947) (Yucca newberryi)
HAINES (1940) Madroño 41(6): 43, "1940" (1941) (Yucca whipplei ssp. caespitosa Haines)
HAINES (1940) Madroño 41(6):43 "1940" (1941) (Yucca whipplei ssp. intermedia Haines)
HAINES (1940) Madroño 41(6):43 "1940" (1941) (Yucca whipplei ssp. percursa Haines)
HAINES (1940) Madroño 41(6): 44 "1940" (1941) (Yucca whipplei ssp. typica Haines)
HAINES (1940) Madroño 41(6): 44 "1940" (1941) (Yucca whipplei ssp. parishii Haines)
HOCHSTÄTTER, F. 2000 Yucca whipplei komplex  Succulenta 79 (1): 2000 incl. new combination Yucca whipplei ssp. newberryi
HOCHSTÄTTER, F. 2000 Yucca whipplei ssp. caespitosa Haines  Succulenta 79 (1): 36-37, 2000
HOCHSTÄTTER, F. 2000 Yucca whipplei ssp. percursa Haines  Succulenta 79 (1): 38, 2000
HOCHSTÄTTER, F. 2000 Yucca whipplei ssp. newberryi (Mckelvey) Hochstätter Succulenta 79 (1): 39-41, 3 photos, and habitat photo
HOCHSTÄTTER, F. 2000 Yucca whipplei ssp. eremica Haines  Succulenta 79 (1): 41-44, 3 photos.
HOCHSTÄTTER, F. 2000 Yucca whipplei ssp. intermedia Haines  Succulenta 79 (1): 37-38, 1 photo on pg. 38
HOCHSTÄTTER, F. 2000 Yucca whipplei ssp. whipplei Torrey  Succulenta 79 (1): 32, 2000
HOCHSTÄTTER, F; (2000), YUCCA (vol. I): 18-19 (Yucca whipplei ssp. whipplei)
JONES, M. (1929)  West. Bot. Contrib. 15: 59,1929 (Yucca whipplei var. parishii M. Jones = Yucca whipplei)
JONES, M. (1929) West. Bot. Contrib. 15: 59. 1929 (Yucca whipplei var. caespitosa M. Jones)
THIEDE, J., Illustrated handbook of succulent plants vol. 1. (Monocotyledons (Eggli ed.)): 85-87, 2002. (Hesperoyucca whipplei).
TORREY (1859) in Emory, U.S. and Mex. Bound. Bot. pg. 221, 1859 (Yucca whipplei Torrey)
WEBBER (1953)  Agric. Monograph U.S.D.A. 17:34 (1953)  (Yucca whipplei var.. intermedia (Haines)
WEBBER (1953) Agric. Monograph U.S.D.A. 17:35 (1953) (Yucca whipplei var. percursa (Haines) Webber)

Back to list with Yucca species:

! Photo gallery ! YuccaHardy Cactus ! E-mail  ! DANSK ! Home ! Caudex index ! Cucurbitaceae (Danish text!) ! Links ! Search ! NEWS ! Wanted !

! Web shop !

Copyright © 1998-2009
Benny Møller Jensen