Yucca in Michigan?

Lance Sloan lsloan at nova.gmi.edu
Mon May 31 08:47:19 EST 1993


This memorial day, I found an interesting plant at the front of the cemetary.
My dad told me that it was a yucca.  But I always thought that yucca was a
cactus-type plant (succulent?) and liked hot, dry areas.  Michigan is like
that sometimes, but not in recent years.

The plant has long thin leaves which are a bit pointy/sharp at the tips.
The more mature leaves have hair-like curly fibers that stick out from the
edges.  It seems to have a single, very long root that goes deep into the
ground.  Deep compared to the low, round shape of the plant.  All leaves
grow out from the center.

Also, a tall stalk grows out of the center of the plant and has flowers and
fruit.  I've only seen the dead stalks, so I don't know what the flowers or
fruit look like.  My dad told me that other people in mid-Michigan have had
these plants and the fruit looks like stubby cucumbers.  In fact, they
pickle them like cucumbers and he's even seen them served in restauruants.
If the fruit is not touched, the whole stalk will turn brown, the fruit will
dry and split open in three parts.  There are black seeds inside the dried
fruit.

What I need to know is, what is this thing?  Is it really a yucca?  Any
speculations on a scientific name?

Also, how would I care for this plant?  I plan on keeping it in a pot on
my balcont and probably bring it in during the winter.  (Even though they
seem to survive the winters here.)  What size pot should I put it in?
How much sun/water does it like?  The ones I have were growing in the
open, but under the shade of trees.

What is known about eating the fruit?  How should it be prepared/pickled?

Any suggestions are appreciated.  Please send me email, which I read more
often than news.  I will post a summary later.

-- 
  Lance Sloan                                              lsloan at nova.gmi.edu
  UNIX System Administrator           GMI Engineering and Management Institute
  Assistant Programmer                                    Flint, Michigan, USA



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