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Yucca gloriosa, Spanish Dagger



Uses : Fencing, Edible, Forage, Fiber, Wildlife. Native to : Southeastern US.
     There seems to be a lot of confusion over Spanish Bayonet and Spanish Dagger on the internet, and if you search for images of one or the other you will get both plants, some of which are improperly labeled. Here is what IFAS has to say on the subject:
"Spanish bayonet is often confused with Spanish Dagger. Leaf margins on Spanish Dagger (Yucca gloriosa) are smooth, whereas those on Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet) are rough. The outer halves of the leaves on Spanish dagger also bend toward the ground, whereas those on Spanish bayonet do not."
     Finally, we have a clear ruling. I had thought my plants were Spanish Bayonet for the last few years in error, they were actually the less painful Spanish Dagger - although still quite painful! The leaves are rigid and spiky, and because the leaves point in every single direction it makes that plants as difficult to handle as a porcupine rolled in peanut oil. The spiky painfulness is probably why this plant is almost never commercially propagated, sad because it is a disease-free, sun-and-sand-loving, pest-resistant plant.
     It is a native in the yucca/agave family, and the flowers and fruit are edible. The white flowers attract bees. It is very easy to propagate, just dig any runners from the base of the plant and move to a sunny spot of the landscape. Very attractive and easy to care for in containers. The leaves are edible to rabbits. Can tolerate beach conditions. The roots contain saponins, but can be cooked to become edible. Or, perhaps, to yield soap? Like Century Plant, the leaves can be made into fibers for ropes, basketry, and clothing.
     It may get 15-20 feet high, then break off during a violent storm, as happened here. These leaves are going to become rabbit manure over the next few weeks.

Spanish Bayonet, Highways and Byways of Florida,  1918.

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