A feast of yuccas from our recent coastal trip

Yucca aloifoia and Yucca gloriosa at Emerald Isle

Just back from an amazing botanizing trip to coastal NC, which, among other things was yucca heaven.  The two dominant yuccas in this area were Yucca aloifolia – foreground and Yucca gloriosa – back. The two species can be distinguished by Y. aloifolia having narrower, lighter, smooth leaves, with a scabrous (sandpapery) dorsal midrib and yellow leaf margin, while Yucca gloriosa has very scabrous leaves on the top and bottom, along with a red leaf marginYucca aloifolia dwarf at Emerald Isle2

Some of the forms of Yucca aloifolia very quite short, maturing under 2′ tall with very narrow leaves.  These grow right beside full size plants, indicating that their dwarf stature is genetic and not due to the harsh coastal conditions.

Yucca aloifolia chartreuse foliage at Emerald Isle

Here is a lovely chartreuse gold leaf form of Yucca aloifolia.Yucca gloriosa green at Emerald Isle

Most of the Yucca gloriosa grew as solitary stalks of green leaves with a slight glaucous cast.

Yucca gloriosa green clustering form

But, a few of the Yucca gloriosa clones were nicely offsetting.Yucca gloriosa blue at Emerald Isle3

Some of the Yucca gloriosa clones had lovely blue foliage on the new growth…Yucca gloriosa blue at Emerald Isle4

while others maintained much older blue foliage

jYucca gloriosa x aloifolia blue at Emerald Isle3

Some like this are almost certainly hybrids of Yucca aloifolia x Yucca gloriosa with characteristics of both parents.  The diversity of species in nature is truly incredible, yet most people pass by without stopping to marvel.Yucca aloifolia x gloriosa at Emerald Isle

And these green forms also appeared to be intermediate between both parents.  I only saw one plant of Yucca filamentosa in the area, and no hybrid with it.

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