Yucca sp. from Lometa, Texas

Yucca sp "Lometa", Texas.
Photo by Brad Clardy ©2007

This Yucca were located by Brad Clardy, on his family's ranch in Central Texas near a town called Lometa.

In this area there are native yuccas, but in spring of 2007 Mr. Clardy observed a clump, with some very unusual characteristics. The flowering stalk was a dark maroon and equally striking the flowering stalk was 2 to 3 times higher than "normal". It is may be a "color variant" of what grows around there but it is certainly unusual. The plant in the back near the fence is the "normal" green form with a flower stalk of 90 -120 cm in height, but the "red form" is taller than 200 cm.

In the late winter of 2007 and in the spring too there were an exceptional amount of rain year. Most of the western US were in a serious drought but Texas, but particularly Central Texas had more rain than it had in years. It were a very strange weather. The wildflowers should have been amazing and all of the pastures were green a lot longer than usual.

Short description of the plant:
Plant acaulescent, growing in clumps of 1 to 6 rosettes. Leaves grass-like 35 to 65 cm 0,6 to 1 cm wide, nearly flat or somewhat plano-convex, twisting, pale to dark green. Leaf margin white or green eventually filiferous, with a few curled fibers. Inflorescens up to 90 to more than 200 cm, paniculate. Panicle held high above the leaves, with many branchlets which is in an upright angle of about 30 degrees. Flowers campanulate (bell shaped) approximately 5 cm long. Fruit dry, 4-6 cm long, 3 to 4 cm thick, Oblong-cylindrical, mostly constricted. Seed black, glossy, with a marginal wing, 0,7 to 0,9 x 0,9 to 1,3  cm. Flowering in May in habitat.

What is the above Yucca?

It is of course difficult to know exactly, as there in this area grows a lot of different species of Yuccas. It could be a natural intermediate form of Yucca arkansana, Yucca glauca, Yucca glauca ssp. stricta and ???? The first species I did think of was Yucca arkansana, but the flower stalk is way too high and it have many branches, which this species should not have!

The red color on the flower stalk is "normal" variation within the Genus Yucca, but in this plant it is very red and beautiful. I have a few Yuccas with reddish flower stalks, but not as bright red as those on this one.

I have been reading through most of my literature about Yucca (I have a lot!), to find an ID for this plant, and my suggestions are:

I think that a form of Yucca constricta, but the flowers looks to me, more like those of Yucca necopina and Yucca arkansana ssp. louisianensis? Of course is there a small chance that the plants are hybrids with genes of one of the two other species or maybe cultivated Yuccas nearby?. The ranch is located in an intermediate area for the above mentioned species, so hybrids should be a possibility. I still think that the tall form and the normal form is the same species, just "normal" (well maybe abnormal to extreme!) variation.

As I did read my way through the Yucca literature, I did notice that the Texas Yuccas are among the most variable and thereby confusing, there are several populations, which it is at this time impossible to determinate which species they are. The "Lometa Yucca" is indeed one of those!

If any of the readers has a better ID for the above please let me know, and write to me

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