Soaptree Yucca for White Sands National Monument
Geologic period: Modern
Soaptree Yucca with blooming flowers, mature fruit, and seed pods
About this image:
Yucca elata is a perennial plant, with common names that include soaptree, soapweed, and palmella. It is common throughout New Mexico and has been used as sources of food, fiber, wood and medicine.
Did you know?
The soaptree yucca gets its name from the soapy material in its roots and trunk, which made this plant a popular substitute for soap. Native Americans used the coarse fiber of the leaves for weaving baskets. Cattle enjoy the tender young stalks, and will eagerly push the plant stalks over to reach the sweet flowers. The trunks and leaves are still utilized in New Mexico as emergency cattle feed in times of drought.