Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sydenham Edwards: Yucca

This illustration of Yucca filamentosa by Sydenham Edwards was published in the January, 1806 issue of Curtis's Botanical Magazine. As a scientific illustration, it compares interestingly with Redouté's. Mathurin Méheut approached the subject differently.

A few facts about Sydenham Edwards

A few facts about Curtis's Botanical Magazine

A few facts about Yucca filamentosa
1. It is an evergreen shrub.
2. Its plant family is Agavaceae, which has the colloquial name of century plants, due presumably to the plants' long lives.
3. The shrub grows in a clump of around three feet high by three feet wide. The inflorescence (the stalk from which flowers grow) might grow up to eight feet.
4. A common name for the plant is Adam's needle. Makes sense, but I'd never heard it before now.
5. There was a little confusion in the naming of the plant. "Yucca" is the Caribbean name for Cassava. It was mistakenly applied to this plant; "yucca" is different from the "yuca" (i.e., Cassava).


  1. I've never heard it called Adam's needle before. I like the comparison with the Redoute drawing.

  2. There are so many interesting colloquial names for plants. I'm often surprised by them.