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Gardening in America
Yucca Plant
by Nancy Fletcher

Yucca PlantThese plants are really more of a wild growing plant. However, they have been adopted by home owners as a landscape addition. Their structure lends itself to an almost exotic looking shape. In cattle country they are relatively new as far as acceptance is concerned. At one time the sharp spiny leaves were not something a cowboy wanted to have his horse try to wade through. It is told that they were once planted outside a window to discourage any "peeping Toms."

The root is what the Natives used for soap. The green pods were said to be edible. There have been stories about how the Native women washed their white garments by using the root. According to the older folks, the green gourd was more to their liking for this. At the earliest of times they spread their clothing on rocks, rubbed them with a piece cut big enough to fit into their hand like a bar of soap, and then washed them to brilliant cleanliness. The blossoms dropped into vinegar will keep and can be used as a hair rinse, by mixing one ounce of the mixture to 8 ounces of water.

It has taken this plant twenty-six years to reach this growth. I have seen some as much as five feet tall. There are small shoots to come up off the side. This is how a friend gave me a start of this one. The friend has been gone now for many years, but the gift she gave me gives us joy every year with the lovely showy white blossoms.

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