The Yucca schidigera is a member of the Agavaceae family. a plant native to the ranges from the south western part of Nevada and Arizona, central and southern California in the USA through to deserts of Mexico. The plant grows up to 5 meters in approximately 15 to 20 years. It has an erect or inclined stem and may or may not have branchlets. Its leaves measure from 30 to 100 cm in length and up to 5 cm wide. Its flowers are balloon shaped, white or cream coloured and generally purple at the base.

Generally, the Yucca schidigera is found in valleys with deep and sandy soil, gentle sloped hills and rocky canyons, at altitudes over 1000 meters above sea level.

Food and Medicinal uses

Yucca schidigera is one of the major commercial source of saponins. Two products of yucca are available on the market. Dried and finely powdered logs (yucca powder) or mechanically pressed and thermally condensed juice (yucca extract). These products are used as a foaming agent in soft drink, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food.

Traditionally Native American Indians used it for washing, shampooing, and for a myriad of different medicinal applications. Biochemical research has shown that natural saponins, like those found in Yucca, repair the damage to cell membranes of the skin and scalp that result in a loss of nutrients.

Yucca schidigera is also known as a nutritional complement, it is a valuable aid in the treatment of diabetes, high cholesterol, bursitis and high blood pressure, and its use is invaluable as an aid to improve and maintain good health.


Yucca schidigera can be propagated from Seed and Root cuttings.

Seed can be sown in spring in a greenhouse. Pre-soaking the seed for 24 hours in warm water may reduce the germination time. It usually germinates within 1 month but can take up to 12 months to germinate. Plant out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first two years. Yucca schidigera can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer and consider giving them some winter protection for at least their first winter outdoors.

Root cuttings can be taken in late winter or early spring. Pot up struck cuttings in Spring and remove small buds from base of stem and rhizomes. Dip in dry wood ashes to stop any bleeding and plant in a sandy soil in pots in a greenhouse until established.

© 2007 Eric J. Smith

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Organic Gardener, Environmentalist and has studied Natural Therapies in depth. Eric represents ONE Group Certified Organic Skin Care, Home & Nutritional Products. Pamper yourself with a little Organic Indulgence. Products containing Yucca schidigera can be found here -