Yuccas (Spanish Bayonet; Soapweed; Adam’s Needle)
Spanish bayonet, or Adam’s needle (Yucca smalliana; formerly Y. filamentosa or Y. flaccida), has stout, scaly flower stalks topped by a panicle of many flowers, arising above a large basal cluster of stout, sharp-pointed, leathery leaves. Flowers cuplike with 3 sepals and 3 petals, 2 inches across, creamy white. Blooms May–July. Leaves basal, stiff, narrow, sharply pointed, to 2½ feet long, often with fibrous edges. Fruit a large, papery capsule with hundreds of flat, black seeds.
Soapweed (Yucca glauca) is a native found only in the northwestern corner of Missouri (Holt and Atchison counties). The base of the flowering portion of the flower clusters is not raised above the leaves, and the leaves are spine-tipped.
Another soapweed, Y. arkansana, is a native found only in the southern portion of Missouri’s Ozarks, along the Arkansas border. It is similar to Y. glauca, but it has softer leaves that are not spine-tipped.