Our Lord’s Candle

(Yucca whipplei)

A close look at the pale, gray-green leaves of Our Lord's Candle.

Our Lord’s Candle can grow in two varieties, as a single or multi-clumped growth pattern. This is another species that can appear to be a rather large bunch grass or multi-mounded bunch grass, but is indeed a Yucca down to its sharp and rigid leaves. The long, blue-green to gray-green leaves are teethed and grow outward to create a globe shape to the plant.

This Yucca’s flowering stem can grow up to 13 feet, displaying bright white flowers that may have a purple tint. The stigma on Our Lord’s Candle is green, brush-like, and ends in a compact head, which is unique to this species. Like the agaves, this species of Yucca is monocarpic, meaning it will die after it blooms. In the mounding (or clumped) variety, each individual plant will bloom before completing its lifecycle. This can take many years, and some will live up to fifty years.

Our Lord’s Candle naturally occurs in chaparral and coastal scrub habitats in southern California and Baja California. Other varieties occur in the Mojave Desert and at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It is heavily cultivated in the southwestern United States and in Europe.

 

 

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