Yucca is a common ornamental plant in Portland. It’s found across the North American continent, where it is the state flower of New Mexico. Native to desert landscapes, yucca lives all over the world. It’s not the same thing as yuca, the cassava root, the tasty potato-like vegetable from South America that you see in the grocery store.
Above, Green Deane from EatTheWeeds.com gives a great overview of the plant’s many wonders. He cooks the flowers as food, explaining that they upset his stomach when raw. Emily and I chewed them during a plant walk once and when we spit them out on our hands, we saw soap bubbles! Later I learned that it’s the center of the flower that has the soap compounds in it; the petals alone are just fine raw! The roots of the yucca plant can also be made into soap and can be put into a stream to stun fish, enabling you to scoop them up easily. (It’s nontoxic to you.)
Below, Jimmy Culpepper, a Georgia outdoor survival educator, gives a great explanation of how to make rope or fishing line with yucca and some pine sap.
The dry stalk can also be used to make a primitive hand-drill fire. This plant has so many incredible uses — you could spend all day on YouTube learning.
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