Jun 29, 2008

The Reappearance of Yucca filamentosa

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We have a rather hefty yucca plant in one of our ornamental gardens that takes up an ever-increasing amount of space. I think that it is the species Yucca filamentosa, and every year it provides us with one or more stalks filled with creamy white blossoms that approach eight feet in height.

Except for last summer, that is.

For reasons unknown to me, the plant did not produce a blossom-bearing stalk last year, and we gazed upon the hardy green leaves all summer, waiting in vain for the flowers that did not appear in sunshine or home lighting. I have read that this barren cycle might be due to the absence of Prodoxidae, better known as "yucca moths." There is a symbiotic relationship between the yucca and these moths, and pollination is best achieved when members of the Prodoxidae family flit about and live their lepidopteran lives.

Thus, all is well with the return of this old friend, a plant that has weathered every subzero winter snap and summer drought in our front yard for nearly 15 years, and another of those seasonal markers of time is here.

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