Yucca filamentosa L.

Adam's-needle

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Adam's-needle is native to southeastern North America, but is occasionally found outside its native range due to being widely cultivated. This is the case in New England, where it is sometimes found on sandy soils and disturbed areas in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The roots contain saponins and were used by the Cherokee to stun fishes, or as a soap to wash blankets. They also used the root externally to treat sores and sprains.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
Leaf arrangement
basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
Leaf blade shape
the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
Leaf blade length
500–750 mm
Flower petal color
  • white
  • yellow
Flower petal length
50–70 mm
Petal fusion
the perianth parts are separate
Inflorescence type
the inflorescence is a panicle (branched with the individual flowers on stalks)
Ovary position
the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
Fruit type (specific)
the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
Fruit length
38–50 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Axillary bulblets
    there are no bulblets being produced in axils
  • Flowers
    Anther attachment
    the anther is attached at its midpoint to the filament
    Anther color
    the anthers show no hint of a pink, reddish or purplish tint
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused (the number of carpels equals the number of locules)
    Filament surface
    the filament surface has no hairs or scales on it
    Flower bracts
    there are bracts associated with the flower
    Flower orientation
    the flowers curve or droop downwards
    Flower petal color
    • white
    • yellow
    Flower petal length
    50–70 mm
    Flower shape
    the flower is bell-shaped
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowering stem width
    Up to 25 mm
    Form of style
    the style is lobed at the tip, and unbranched
    Fringed petal edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Hairs on flower stalk
    the flower stalk has no hairs on it
    Inflorescence hair glands
    the axis of the inflorescence has no hairs on it
    Inflorescence length
    750–1500 mm
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence is a panicle (branched with the individual flowers on stalks)
    Length of peduncle
    1000–3000 mm
    Marks on petals
    there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    3
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals and/or petals
    there are six petals, sepals or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    the petal narrows gradually or does not narrow at the base
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are separate
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    there are no hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble petals in color and texture
    Sepal length
    50–70 mm
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spathe
    the plant does not have a spathe
    Spathe form
    NA
    Spathe length
    0 mm
    Stamen number
    6
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamen types
    the stamens within a cycle are all similar
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not fused to one another
    Stamens fused outwards
    • the stamens are fused to the petals or tepals at or near their bases
    • the stamens are not fused to the petals or tepals
    Style length
    Up to 10 mm
    Style petal-like
    the style is not broad and flattened like a petal
    Tepals
    the petals and sepals are similar in size and color
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule ridges
    there are three ribs or wings on the capsule
    Fruit compartments
    • there are six or more locules in the fruit
    • there are three locules in the fruit
    Fruit cross-section
    the fruit is round in cross-section
    Fruit length
    38–50 mm
    Fruit stalk orientation
    the fruits point upward or spread or curve outward
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Fruit width
    20 mm
    Other markings on berry
    NA
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Root septa
    the roots do not have transverse septa
    Underground organs
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
    Leaf blade basal lobes
    the leaf blades do not have basal lobes
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has no stalk
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf blade has no noticeable waxy or powdery bloom
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section
    Leaf blade faces
    both surfaces of the leaf blade are exposed
    Leaf blade form
    Fully-formed (i.e., expanded), +/- green leaf blades are found somewhere on the plant
    Leaf blade length
    500–750 mm
    Leaf blade orientation
    the upper surface of the leaf blade faces the stem of the plant
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    Leaf blade veins
    the lateral veins are parallel or slightly arched in the direction of the tip
    Leaf blade width
    20–40 mm
    Leaf stalk length
    0 mm
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Leaflet number
    0
    Stipule twining
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on this plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • Rhode Island
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the leaves have no particular smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem growth form
    the flowering stem is held upright
    Flowering stem interior
    the flowering stem is solid
    Flowering stem leaves
    there are no true leaves on the flowering stem
    Stem hairs
    the stem is nearly or completely hairless

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Synonyms

  • Yucca filamentosa L. var. smalliana (Fern.) Ahles
  • Yucca smalliana Fern.

Family

Agavaceae

Genus

Yucca

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Yucca filamentosa L. E

Adam’s-needle. Yucca filamentosa L. var. smalliana (Fern.) Ahles; Y. smalliana Fern. 
• CT, MA, RI. Sandy soils of roadsides, fields, and disturbed lots.