Further studies on growth patterns in <i>Yucca elata</i> Engelm (Liliaceae)

TitleFurther studies on growth patterns in Yucca elata Engelm (Liliaceae)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1978
AuthorsSmith SD, Ludwig J.
JournalThe Southwestern Naturalist
Date Published1978
Call Number00310
Keywordsarticle, articles, journal, journals, Yucca,growth patterns
AbstractIn a previous study on growth patterns in Yucca elata on the Jornada Range in southern New Mexico, it was observed that an individual Yucca elata grows in a cyclic pattern with respect to leaf and inflorescence production. Results of this study confirm that observation. A large individual plant does not produce an inflorescence stalk every year in the field, an influence of both climatic patterns and plant age and vigor. The cyclic pattern of growth is due to its ability to store large amounts of energy, which is then depleted during the production of the high energy-cost inflorescence. Because of this, intervening years of strictly vegetative growth are necessary, after which an individual plant will flower again give appropriate environmental conditions. A small, young plant must grow several years before it can reproduce. Other woody monocots in the northern Chihuahuan desert appear to exhibit similar growth patterns as Yucca elata.