Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Yucca aloifolia
(Spanish bayonet)

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Datasheet

Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Yucca aloifolia
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Spanish bayonet
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Y. aloifolia is an evergreen shrub in the Asparagaceae family that grows mainly in the coastal plain of the southern United States and Mexico along dunes, roadsides and in open coastal forests. Some sources als...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Garden of Eden Keanae, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.
TitleHabit
CaptionYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Garden of Eden Keanae, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2011 - CC BY 4.0
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Garden of Eden Keanae, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.
HabitYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Garden of Eden Keanae, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.©Forest & Kim Starr-2011 - CC BY 4.0
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Gulfstream Park, Florida, USA. September 2009.
TitleHabit
CaptionYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Gulfstream Park, Florida, USA. September 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Gulfstream Park, Florida, USA. September 2009.
HabitYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Gulfstream Park, Florida, USA. September 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Gulfstream Park, Florida, USA. September 2009.
TitleHabit
CaptionYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Gulfstream Park, Florida, USA. September 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Gulfstream Park, Florida, USA. September 2009.
HabitYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); habit. Gulfstream Park, Florida, USA. September 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which are very rigid.
TitleLeaves
CaptionYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which are very rigid.
Copyright©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which are very rigid.
LeavesYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which are very rigid.©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have small teeth along the margins.
TitleLeaves
CaptionYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have small teeth along the margins.
Copyright©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have small teeth along the margins.
LeavesYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have small teeth along the margins.©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have small teeth along the margins.
TitleLeaves
CaptionYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have small teeth along the margins.
Copyright©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have small teeth along the margins.
LeavesYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have small teeth along the margins.©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have pointed, sharp tips.
TitleLeaves
CaptionYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have pointed, sharp tips.
Copyright©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have pointed, sharp tips.
LeavesYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); leaves, which have pointed, sharp tips.©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); close view of sharp, pointed, leaf tip.
TitleLeave
CaptionYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); close view of sharp, pointed, leaf tip.
Copyright©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); close view of sharp, pointed, leaf tip.
LeaveYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); close view of sharp, pointed, leaf tip.©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); flowering habit.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); flowering habit.
Copyright©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); flowering habit.
Flowering habitYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); flowering habit.©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); close view of flowers.
TitleFlowers
CaptionYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); close view of flowers.
Copyright©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Yucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); close view of flowers.
FlowersYucca aloifolia (Spanish bayonet); close view of flowers.©Rebekah D. Wallace/University of Georgia//Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Yucca aloifolia L.

Preferred Common Name

  • Spanish bayonet

Other Scientific Names

  • Yucca serrulata Haworth
  • Yucca yucatana Engelmann

International Common Names

  • English: Adam’s needle; aloe yucca; dagger plant; Indian bread plant; Spanish dagger
  • Spanish: aguja de adán; bayoneta Española; cucarachita; espadilla; espino; flor de Jericó; itabo (Colombia); izote ; mata de huevo; pinguin; piñón de puñal; yuca
  • French: bayonette
  • Portuguese: iúca
  • German: alöblättrige Palmlilie; graue Palmlilie

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Palmlilie, Alöblättrige
  • Sweden: tandpalmlilja

EPPO code

  • UCCAL (Yucca aloifolia)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Y. aloifolia is an evergreen shrub in the Asparagaceae family that grows mainly in the coastal plain of the southern United States and Mexico along dunes, roadsides and in open coastal forests. Some sources also list it as native to islands in the Caribbean (Trelease, 1902; Jones and Goode, 1884; USDA-ARS, 2016). It is widely planted as an ornamental and living fence in temperate and tropical regions around the world and has the ability to spread by seed and vegetatively. It is listed as a transformative species in Plantas Invasoras en Cuba (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012). It is considered an environmental weed in New South Wales, Australia (Weeds of Australia, 2016) and invasive on coastal dunes in Valencia, Spain (Ferrer Marino and Donat, 2011). It has naturalized in scrublands of South Africa (Smith et al., 2012). In the USA it is naturalized in California (LSA Associates, 2010). There is no information on what environmental effects the species has on habitats, ecosystems or populations but since it can form dense stands (Sydney Weeds Committee, 2016), it is likely to compete with native species. The leaves are tipped with very sharp points and can cause an allergic reaction (Kanerva et al., 2001). There is no evidence that it is considered a weed in agricultural systems.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Liliales
  •                         Family: Agavaceae
  •                             Genus: Yucca
  •                                 Species: Yucca aloifolia

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Yucca aloifolia L. was described by Linnaeus in 1753 (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016), and is the type species for the genus Yucca. It was earlier described by Caspar Bauhin in 1623 as Draconi arbori affinis Americana (Sargent, 1896). There are many forms and varieties of the species (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016). Yucca serrulata and Y. yucatana are synonyms for Y. aloifolia (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016). The cultivar Y. aloifolia ‘Tricolor’ has green and white leaves (Gilman, 2014), tinged with red when young (Trelease, 1902). Yucca aloifolia ‘Marginata’ has leaves edged in yellow and Y. aloifolia var. draconis has a branching trunk with wider recurved leaves (Christman, 2004). The common names Spanish bayonet and dagger plant refer to the sharp and pointed tips of the leaves.

Description

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A multi-trunked shrub or small tree growing to 1 – 5 metres (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2005; Gilman, 2014) with stems reaching 10.2 cm in diameter (Brown and Cooprider, 2012). Elongated evergreen leaves (30-60 cm long) with sharp-spined tips overlap around the trunk (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong 2005; Gilman, 2014). Dead leaves persist, eventually drooping against the stem (Brown and Cooprider, 2012). Leaf edges are very finely serrated (Gilman, 2014). Dense panicles of flowers (20-70 cm long) grow from the ends of the branches in spring to early summer (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong 2005; Brown and Cooprider, 2012). Flowers are bell-shaped with 6 thick, white tepals sometimes tinged with purple or green (Brown and Cooprider, 2012). The elliptical fruit is 6.3 - 8.9 cm long turning from green to black as it matures (Brown and Cooprider, 2012). Mature, indehiscent, fruits contain many flattened black seeds 6 mm in diameter in a purple pulp (Brown and Cooprider, 2012). Plants spread via rhizomes (Brown and Cooprider, 2012).

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

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There is some dispute about the native range of this species. Most sources agree that it is native to Mexico and to the southeastern United States (Jones and Goode, 1884; Trelease, 1902; USDA-NRCS, 2016). Trelease (1902) states that it is also native to the Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Bermuda. Jones and Goode (1884) say it is also native to Bermuda and the West Indies. Sargent (1896) says it naturalized in the West Indies and Jamaica and along the Mexican gulf coast shortly after European settlement. 

Britton and Millspaugh (1920) describe it as occurring in Bermuda, Florida to Louisiana, Cuba, Jamaica and Mexico. It occurs from southern coastal Virginia south to Florida and in states along the Gulf coast from Florida to Texas (BONAP, 2016; USDA-NRCS, 2016). In the USA it is naturalized in California (LSA Associates, 2010) and may be naturalized in the more inland parts of the southeastern states (Sargent, 1896). 

Y. aloifolia has also naturalized in Australia, especially in coastal districts of New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia as well as Lord Howe Island (Weeds of Australia, 2016). Naturalized and cultivated in Pakistan in “the lower hills of the Punjab & NWFP regions and often grown as hedges” (Flora of Pakistan, 2016). In Europe it is naturalized along the coast of Spain near Valencia (Ferrer Marino and Donat, 2011). Cultivated widely and naturalized in two places in South Africa including Kwa-Zulu Natal and Free State (Smith et al., 2012).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

ChinaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive South China Botanical Garden Checklist, 2016Cultivated in Guangdong
-GuangdongPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive South China Botanical Garden Checklist, 2016
PakistanLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Flora of Pakistan, 2016
PhilippinesPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive HEAR, 2016

Africa

EgyptPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced1854 Not invasive Pickering, 1854
GabonPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016
South AfricaLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Smith et al., 2012

North America

MexicoPresentNativeGBIF, 2016; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016Yucatan, Veracruz, Chiapas
USAPresentNativeBONAP, 2016Introduced in some parts of the country
-AlabamaWidespreadNative Not invasive BONAP, 2016
-ArizonaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive GBIF, 2016
-CaliforniaLocalisedIntroduced Invasive LSA Associates, 2016
-FloridaWidespreadNative Not invasive BONAP, 2016
-GeorgiaWidespreadNative Not invasive BONAP, 2016
-HawaiiPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Starr Environmental, 2016
-LouisianaWidespreadNative Not invasive BONAP, 2016
-MississippiWidespreadNative Not invasive BONAP, 2016
-North CarolinaPresent, few occurrencesNative Not invasive BONAP, 2016
-South CarolinaLocalisedNative Not invasive BONAP, 2016
-TexasLocalisedNative Not invasive BONAP, 2016
-VirginiaPresent, few occurrencesNative Not invasive BONAP, 2016; Digital Atlas of the Flora of Virginia, 2016

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BahamasPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
CubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroduced Not invasive GBIF, 2016
GuadeloupePresentBroome et al., 2007
HaitiPresentIntroduced Not invasive GBIF, 2016
JamaicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Not invasive Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; GBIF, 2016Possibly planted
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; Graveson, 2012
Sint MaartenPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; GBIF, 2016
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; GBIF, 2016

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedDarwin Botanical Institute, 2016; GBIF, 2016
BoliviaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016
BrazilRestricted distributionIntroducedGBIF, 2016Sao Paulo
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2016
ChileLocalisedIntroduced Invasive HEAR, 2016Juan Fernandez Islands
Ecuador
-Galapagos IslandsPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive HEAR, 2016

Europe

ItalyPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Molon, 1914
SpainLocalisedIntroduced Invasive Ferrer Marino and Donat, 2011; GBIF, 2016
UKPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced1603 Not invasive Pulteney, 1790

Oceania

AustraliaLocalisedIntroducedGBIF, 2016
-New South WalesLocalisedIntroducedGBIF, 2016Mainland and Bribie Island
-QueenslandLocalisedIntroducedGBIF, 2016
-TasmaniaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2016
-Western AustraliaLocalisedIntroducedGBIF, 2016
Cook IslandsPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive HEAR, 2016
French PolynesiaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive HEAR, 2016
New CaledoniaLocalisedIntroduced Invasive HEAR, 2016
Norfolk IslandLocalisedIntroduced1970 Invasive GBIF, 2016On landslide

History of Introduction and Spread

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Either Y. aloifolia or the closely related Y. gloriosa was cultivated in Europe since before 1605 (Trelease, 1902). It was described by Caspar Bauhin in 1623, presumably from a specimen in Europe (Bauhin, 1623; Sargent, 1896). Y. aloifolia was cultivated in the Royal Garden at Hampton Court in England in 1696 (Miller and Martyn, 1807). It is described as escaped from cultivation in northwestern Louisiana as early as 1902 (Trelease, 1902). Byrne (1980) reports some plants escaped from horticulture in the Bahamas on Cat Island. Cultivated in Belgium at least since 1882 (Morren, 1882). 

Dates of introduction to Australia and South Africa are unknown, but in South Africa the first naturalized populations were recorded in 2012 (Smith et al., 2012). Plants were cultivated in Australia since at least 1883 (Guilfoyle, 1883). In South Africa, plants mainly appear to spread vegetatively from plants planted as living fences (Smith et al., 2012).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Europe North America 1605 Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes No Trelease (1902)
UK North America 1603 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No Pulteney (1790)
Australia North America 1883 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No Guilfoyle (1883) ‘Variegata’ cultivar
Norfolk Island By 1970 Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes No GBIF (2016) Naturalized on a landslide below planting

Risk of Introduction

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Plants are sold and traded internationally and locally as seeds and live plants (Webber, 1895; Smith et al., 2012; Dave’s Garden, 2016).

Habitat

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In the USA and Mexico, most populations grow in the sandy coastal plain along dunes and inland for 30-40 miles with oaks and pines (Sargent 1896). Plants are tolerant of salt spray (NPIN, 2016). It is found on the margins of brackish marshes (PFAF, 2016).

Frequently occurs along roadsides and in disturbed areas in its introduced range (Acevedo-Rodríguez, 1996; GBIF, 2016). Hundreds of plants are naturalized on a landslide on Norfolk Island, Australia (GBIF, 2016) and it has naturalized on basalt substrate in New South Wales, Australia (GBIF, 2016). Y. aloifolia ccurs on fixed dunes and roadsides in a few locations in Spain (Ferrer Marino and Donat, 2011; GBIF, 2016). It grows on sand dunes in Australia (GBIF, 2016).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedProtected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Rocky areas / lava flows Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Principal habitat Natural
Coastal dunes Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal dunes Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Y. aloifolia forms a homoploid hybrid, Y. gloriosa, with Y. filamentosa. All three species are diploid (Rentsch and Leebens-Mack, 2012). Chromosome number of Y. aloifolia: 2n=60 (Matsuura and Suto, 1935).

Reproductive Biology

The native pollinators of Y. aloifolia are the yucca moths Tegeticula yuccasella and T. cassandra (Rentsch and Leebens-Mack, 2014), but fruit set occurs outside of the range of these pollinators. Although most yuccas require a specialized pollinator, this fruit and seed set of Y. aloifolia away from its normal pollinators was found to be due to pollination by European honeybees (Apis mellifera) (Rentsch and Leebens-Mack, 2014). Brown and Cooprider (2012), however, report that the plant produces few fruits where the specialist pollinator is limited.

Seeds require cold stratification (NPIN, 2016).

Physiology and Phenology

Leaves are evergreen (Gilman, 2014). Plants flower from March to June in Florida, April to July in Jamaica, and fruits mature from summer into autumn (Adams, 1972; Brown and Cooprider, 2012). Y. aloifolia uses CAM photosynthesis (Heyduk et al., 2016).

Longevity

One reference describes plants as living 25-50 years (AUB Landscape Plant Database, 2016).

Environmental Requirements

Plants prefer to grow on well-drained, sunny to partly sunny sites (NPIN, 2016) in USDA hardiness zones 6-11 (Gilman, 2014). The plant can be grown on acid, neutral and alkaline soils, ranging from light to heavy in texture, and can grow in nutritionally poor soil, but prefers well-drained soil. It can tolerate drought, and grows in semi-shade or full sun (PFAF, 2016).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
39 33

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -18
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 17 25
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 29 33
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 8 24

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration08number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall4501570mm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • saline

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Scyphophorus acupunctatus Herbivore Adults not specific
Tetranychus urticae Herbivore Adults not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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The agave snout weevil, Scyphophorus acupunctatus lays eggs in the base of the plant. Introduced microorganisms cause the plant to collapse and die. Mealybugs, scale, thrips and weevils also feed on adult plants (Brown and Cooprider, 2012). Leaf spotting diseases include Anthracnose, Coniothyrium or brown leaf spot and Cytosporina (Brown and Cooprider, 2012).

Two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) infestations can slowly kill plants (Kelly and Olsen, 2008).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Seeds are held in a sweet, sticky pulp, and have been observed to be dispersed by mockingbirds in their scat (Webber, 1895). Fruits that dry out eventually fall off the plant and disperse as the pods disintegrate (Webber, 1895).

Accidental Introduction

“Spread by humans, contaminated soil (earthmoving equipment, car tyres etc) and garden refuse dumping” (Sydney Weeds Committee, 2016).

Intentional Introduction

Plants are widely cultivated in gardens (Webber, 1895; Smith et al., 2012; Dave’s Garden, 2016).

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesDiscarded pieces of plants Yes Sydney Weeds Committee, 2016
Germplasm Yes Yes BGCI, 2016
MailSeeds or plants Yes Dave's Garden, 2016

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Human health Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

Y. aloifolia creates spiny, impenetrable thickets (Sydney Weeds Committee, 2016). Clumps of plants can change fire behaviour in the landscape (Archbold Biological Station, 2016).

Impact on Biodiversity

No studies were found that addressed impacts on biodiversity. Plants form monocultures (Sydney Weeds Committee, 2016) which could displace native plants and animals.

Social Impact

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Some people have an allergic reaction after being pricked by Y. aloifolia leaves (Kanerva et al., 2001).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Long lived
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Modification of fire regime
  • Monoculture formation
Impact mechanisms
  • Causes allergic responses
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Plants are sold as ornamentals (Dave’s Garden, 2016) and used as security fences (Brown and Cooprider, 2012). Fibres are used to make rope, baskets, clothing and footwear (Flora of Pakistan, 2016; Brown and Cooprider, 2012). Leaves and roots are used medicinally (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2016; Keller, 2001). Extracts of the roots contain saponins used for washing (Brown and Cooprider, 2012). Flowers can be eaten raw or fried (Brown and Cooprider, 2012). Fruits are edible (Gilman, 2014; Keller, 2001).

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Amenity
  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Firebreak
  • Landscape improvement

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo
  • Sociocultural value

Human food and beverage

  • Fruits

Materials

  • Baskets
  • Fibre

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Potted plant
  • Propagation material
  • Seed trade

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Y. gloriosa can be confused with Y. aloifolia (Gilman, 2014). “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” (Gilman, 2014).

Another common ornamental yucca, spineless yucca (Y. elephantipes) is also similar in appearance. “Spineless yucca is a large shrub or small tree with one to several trunks and grows to more than 20 feet tall. The trunks are gray, rough and are leafless in taller specimens except at the very end. The base of the plant becomes swollen with age, often clustered with suckers. The leaves are longer than those of the Spanish bayonet and not as tightly packed. Leaf margins are smooth and leaf tips are spineless. The rachis of the inflorescence is partially exposed. Unlike Spanish bayonet, spineless yucca does not spread by rhizomes” (Brown and Cooprider, 2012).

Prevention and Control

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Physical/Mechanical Control

Plants can be dug out removing all plant parts from infested sites to avoid regeneration from any remaining material (Sydney Weeds Committee, 2016).

Chemical Control

Plants can be treated chemically using a foliar spray or cut stump treatment (Brisbane City Council, 2016). McGinty and Kidd (2009) compared a number of broadcast herbicide treatments for Yucca spp. in Texas, where recommended control was by Cimarron Max [including metsulfuron-methyl + dicamba] plus 2,4-D. The most effective treatments included GF2050 (aminopyralid + metsulfuron) in mixture with Remedy Ultra (triclopyr).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Little information is available on the economic costs or environmental harm caused by Y. aloifolia despite its listing as a weed or invasive plant in several countries. Seed dispersal has not been studied since 1895 (Webber, 1895) and there are conflicting reports on its native range.

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez P, 1996. Flora of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands., Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden, 78:1-581

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Strong, M. T., 2005. Monocotyledons and gymnosperms of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands., Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, 52:415 pp.

Adams CD, 1972. Flowering plants of Jamaica. Mona, Jamaica: University of the West Indies. 848 pp.

Archbold Biological Station, 2016. Nuisance plants. Florida, USA. http://www.archbold-station.org/html/linkpgs/nuisanceplants.html

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07/03/2016 Original text by:

Sylvan Kaufman, Sylvan Green Earth Consulting, Santa Fe, USA

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