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Cold Hardy Agave Yuccas and Cacti for Central Texas Climate

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Collectorpalms

Looking for more than just palms that survived 2021 freeze. Can someone give some data on what survived 5F relatively unscathed? I think the only one that I had survive is Yucca Rostrata.

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Teegurr
7 hours ago, Collectorpalms said:

Looking for more than just palms that survived 2021 freeze. Can someone give some data on what survived 5F relatively unscathed? I think the only one that I had survive is Yucca Rostrata.

Agave americana did pretty well here.

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mulungu

Here in far north San Antonio didn't quite hit 5F, but came close (6-8 F in different parts in my backyard), so I'll chime in.

I try not to leave too much fully exposed to snow/ice in blasts, and my garden plantings are pretty new, so I covered what I could with canvas or paper/plastic drop cloths.

 --Agave 'Mateo" unscathed, covered by a plastic/paper dropcloth. I like this plant.  Have grown standard bracteosa in the past, which I'm sure would have been just as hardy to these temps, too, but much prefer 'Mateo.'  It is just as architectural, if not more so, than its bracteosa parent, and the pale chartreuse center stripe adds a bit more of a color pop in the landscape than the "jolly green giant green" of straight bracteosa.  Plus, it pups just enough to spread around the landscape and share without making a nuisance of itself like bracteosa can sometimes do.

 

332859351_20210220_1250491.thumb.jpg.838fa25210a85b7c1c5f5a0bab90c8f3.jpg

105820667_agavemateopost.thumb.jpg.f118fc6cf3bde62a35d4f92d0fc6d179.jpg
 

--A. bracteosa 'Monterrey Frost' also unharmed, similarly covered.  Grows very slow for me-- seems like it will always stay a baby.

--Agave mitis (celsii) and A. weberi were covered with canvas drop cloth.  Not unscathed, but are surviving. The outer leaves eventually revealed moderate to heavy damage and had to be debrided, but the inner hearts of the plants are intact and they are coming back into growth.

--Mangave 'Macho Mocha'-- Some were covered with canvas drop cloth and were some fully exposed to the snow. The covered ones are nearly unscathed.  The exposed ones took on heavy damage--looking iffy.  Covered Mangave 'Espresso" took moderate damage but will probably live--not too worried.  

--Small Yucca recurvifolia 'Margaritaville' were fully exposed to the snow and came through unscathed.

--Dyckia 'Cherry Coke' was covered with drop cloth.  Snow got under one of the coverings and those look bad and probably dead.  The protected ones have mild to moderate damage and will probably recover.

 

Edited by mulungu
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Xenon

Now I see why Hesperaloe parviflora is gaining popularity, even with TxDOT 

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Meangreen94z

Yucca Rostrata- undamaged 

Yucca Treculeana- undamaged

Yucca Thompsoniana- undamaged 

Yucca Faxoniana- some had minor burn, Ive seem a few trunks around Austin that toppled from the weight of the ice

Yucca Rigida-Mine were undamaged from the cold but the ice on the head bent two of angled the trunks, on multi trunk specimen, creating a soft spot/rot. I had to cut the trunks there. Others around town that had a single upright trunk look undamaged 

Yucca Linearifolia. I have 5 in containers on my porch. Exposed to 4*F two nights in a row while covered in thick ice, plus whatever difference they gained on the porch- undamaged 

Agave Proto-Americana took some damage but survived around town, Asperimma, Ovatifolia, Neomexicano, etc. all took minor burn in the area. I have a few hybrids from PDN that took almost no damage

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Fusca
56 minutes ago, Meangreen94z said:

Yucca Rostrata- undamaged 

Yucca Thompsoniana- undamaged 

Same experience here in SA.  Also have Yucca filifera that went undamaged and another native yucca that looks like Y. treculeana but not sure what it is.  It was undamaged except for a spear pull from the ice (near the drip line of my roof) but quickly rebounded.  Agave parryi and victoriae-reginae both came out unscathed.

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Xenon

Any data on "cold hardy" bromeliads? The xeric species are pretty cold hardy but also curious to see how some of the savannah stuff from the southern Brazil/Argentina did. Any living Aechmea or Vriesea? 

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Meangreen94z
3 hours ago, Fusca said:

Same experience here in SA.  Also have Yucca filifera that went undamaged and another native yucca that looks like Y. treculeana but not sure what it is.  It was undamaged except for a spear pull from the ice (near the drip line of my roof) but quickly rebounded.  Agave parryi and victoriae-reginae both came out unscathed.

I forgot to add those. My filifera leaves burned probably 50% but survived 

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ahosey01
19 hours ago, Meangreen94z said:

Yucca Rostrata- undamaged 

Yucca Treculeana- undamaged

Yucca Thompsoniana- undamaged 

Yucca Faxoniana- some had minor burn, Ive seem a few trunks around Austin that toppled from the weight of the ice

Yucca Rigida-Mine were undamaged from the cold but the ice on the head bent two of angled the trunks, on multi trunk specimen, creating a soft spot/rot. I had to cut the trunks there. Others around town that had a single upright trunk look undamaged 

Yucca Linearifolia. I have 5 in containers on my porch. Exposed to 4*F two nights in a row while covered in thick ice, plus whatever difference they gained on the porch- undamaged 

Agave Proto-Americana took some damage but survived around town, Asperimma, Ovatifolia, Neomexicano, etc. all took minor burn in the area. I have a few hybrids from PDN that took almost no damage

I have a theory that this has to do with a.) the weight of the ice but also b.) being too highly irrigated or receiving too much moisture.  This is a desert species that does not grow near washes and is designed to store as much water as possible during wet periods.  I think that when they are irrigated, they become to heavy for their own structures and begin to risk toppling.  In the event that ice hits the plant - this would be the final straw, so to speak.

This happens out here with Palo Verde trees.  You’ll see huge specimens that are just too big for their age, and inevitably they lose their largest branches in wind events that don’t break a single branch in non-xeric species.

Edited by ahosey01

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PricklyPearSATC

Yucca recurvifolia was unscathed, along with hesperaloe (red yucca) which are are currently blooming.

There are new hesperaloe culitvars on the market with various sizes and deeper red bloom colors. 

Yucca recurvifolia grows anywhere...sun, shade...drought tolerant, wet tolerant, cold tolerant.  Native from North Carolina to Texas.

Edited by PricklyPearSATC
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bananaman

The biggest winner on the Agave front is A. ovatifolia — many came through completely unprotected with only minor burn. Here’s a random clump:

5E6864A4-68A0-4D52-AAB4-428D56822DBC.jpeg.871fbfea152c53627eb9dd7279588809.jpeg
 

Other agaves that pulled through well include A. asperrima, A. lechuguilla, and A. lophantha (the regular was fine, though "quadricolor" lophantha burned moderately). A. americana had a ton of variability in damage. Some are almost entirely dead, while others are mostly undamaged. Several A. americana in my neighborhood that took bad burn are putting up stress flowers.  Some of the so-called A. ferox look decent, but there was also much variability like A. americana. The biggest loser for agaves was A. weberi — only small pups entirely buried in snow are still alive.
 

In terms of yuccas, the native Y. rupicola and it’s hybrids with Y. pallida look great, unsurprisingly. Y. rostrata is untouched. Y. recurvifolia also looks fine.

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Silas_Sancona
2 hours ago, ahosey01 said:

 

This happens out here with Palo Verde trees.  You’ll see huge specimens that are just too big for their age, and inevitably they lose their largest branches in wind events that don’t break a single branch in non-xeric species.

True, to some extent..  With P.V.s i think wood strength plays a big part in how susceptible they are to wind damage/ wind throw..  Put an Ironwood and Blue Palo Verde side by side in a yard/ other landscape, and spoil with what i too consider too much water for both, and the Ironwood will still have far less wind damage issues then the Palo Verde.. Only obvious difference, Ironwood -wood- is quite strong.  Same with native and Mexican vs. South American Mesquites ( over- planted Argentine / Chilean 'squites )..

Besides wood strength, and avoiding planting trees that have grower related issues like girdling/ circling roots,  another factor that makes PVs in cultivation more damage prone is how they are trained/ developed as they get bigger.. Too much/ should be outlawed " Lion tailing " around here which further exploits the trees' weaknesses, especially in manicured landscapes where they are pampered wayy too much, too often. 

1 hour ago, PricklyPearSATC said:

Yucca recurvifolia was unscathed, along with hesperaloe (red yucca) which are are currently blooming.

There are new hesperaloe culitvars on the market with various sizes and deeper red bloom colors. 

Yucca recurvifolia grows anywhere...sun, shade...drought tolerant, wet tolerant, cold tolerant.  Native from North Carolina to Texas.

Surprised no one has mentioned Yucca pallida, reverchonii, or glauca.. All of those should have done fine thru the freeze there in TX.  Y. pallida is quickly becoming a popular landscape plant here, and for good reason. Can't beat the standout blue foliage/ ease of care, and that it really doesn't take up much space ( or try to attack you when you trim off the dead flower spikes/ any dead leaves, lol.

As far as cacti, Texas has plenty of great choices that can tolerate a lot of cold..  Mammillaria, Coryphantha, Echinocereus, etc..  would imagine the " showy " Opuntia like macrocentra and azurea would do alright in more humid parts of the state if planted somewhere where the soil drains well, and aren't provided much -if any- extra water. Cold hardiness shouldn't be an issue considering where both originate..

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Meangreen94z
2 hours ago, ahosey01 said:

I have a theory that this has to do with a.) the weight of the ice but also b.) being too highly irrigated or receiving too much moisture.  This is a desert species that does not grow near washes and is designed to store as much water as possible during wet periods.  I think that when they are irrigated, they become to heavy for their own structures and begin to risk toppling.  In the event that ice hits the plant - this would be the final straw, so to speak.

This happens out here with Palo Verde trees.  You’ll see huge specimens that are just too big for their age, and inevitably they lose their largest branches in wind events that don’t break a single branch in non-xeric species.

Yeah, excessive irrigation can lead to a thinner, faster growing trunk on some species, but I think the thick, glass like ice was the factor. The weight folded Live Oak branches to the ground or snapped them. Trees that can make it through hurricanes along the Texas coast sometimes unscathed.

     The Yucca that seemed to suffer were multitrunk variations where the trunks branched off at 45-60* angles. The angle with the weight led to damage.

thanks

-Daniel

A5D976A0-3E2C-4C11-A608-AF4B1DB80709.jpeg

099522C8-E03C-4684-BEF5-FB108A517024.jpeg

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Palmensammler
1 hour ago, bananaman said:

The biggest winner on the Agave front is A. ovatifolia — many came through completely unprotected with only minor burn. Here’s a random clump:

5E6864A4-68A0-4D52-AAB4-428D56822DBC.jpeg.871fbfea152c53627eb9dd7279588809.jpeg
 

Other agaves that pulled through well include A. asperrima, A. lechuguilla, and A. lophantha (the regular was fine, though "quadricolor" lophantha burned moderately). A. americana had a ton of variability in damage. Some are almost entirely dead, while others are mostly undamaged. Several A. americana in my neighborhood that took bad burn are putting up stress flowers.  Some of the so-called A. ferox look decent, but there was also much variability like A. americana. The biggest loser for agaves was A. weberi — only small pups entirely buried in snow are still alive.
 

In terms of yuccas, the native Y. rupicola and it’s hybrids with Y. pallida look great, unsurprisingly. Y. rostrata is untouched. Y. recurvifolia also looks fine.

These A. ovatifolias are looking wonderful. What was the minimum temperature they had to go through? How long are they planted out?

Regards

Eckhard

Edited by Palmensammler

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amh

Hesperaloe parviflora, Yucca rupicola and Yucca treculeana were unfazed by below 0 temperatures and Opuntia ellisiana grown in full to part sun had no damage

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Meangreen94z
50 minutes ago, Palmensammler said:

These A. ovatifolias are looking wonderful. What was the minimum temperature they had to go through? How long are they planted out?

Regards

Eckhard

They survived a week below freezing and a low of -2*F (-18.9*C) up in Dallas with minor burn. Someone posted pictures from Kansas where one saw a wet -14* to - 17*F (-25 to -27.2*C)and the core survived.

Here is mine after the same event above but a low of 4*F(-15.5C)

407F91C6-6153-4213-B892-6F10712E3861.jpeg

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ahosey01
2 hours ago, Meangreen94z said:

Yeah, excessive irrigation can lead to a thinner, faster growing trunk on some species, but I think the thick, glass like ice was the factor. The weight folded Live Oak branches to the ground or snapped them. Trees that can make it through hurricanes along the Texas coast sometimes unscathed.

     The Yucca that seemed to suffer were multitrunk variations where the trunks branched off at 45-60* angles. The angle with the weight led to damage.

thanks

-Daniel

A5D976A0-3E2C-4C11-A608-AF4B1DB80709.jpeg

099522C8-E03C-4684-BEF5-FB108A517024.jpeg

Jesus this is nuts!  I’ve never seen a storm like this in person.  I grew up in Chicago and you only rarely get ice there - it’s always snow.  Now I live in AZ and... well... this ain’t happening here. Lol

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bananaman
1 hour ago, Palmensammler said:

These A. ovatifolias are looking wonderful. What was the minimum temperature they had to go through? How long are they planted out?

Regards

Eckhard

The minimum in my neighborhood in Austin was somewhere around 6-8°, and there were two nights below 10°. We had 6 straight days of below freezing weather and about 6-7" of snow and 3/4" of ice.

Those ovatifolia have been in the ground about 3 years, but basically all the ovatifolia around here look like this. There was one house nearby that had 3 with substantial burn, but that was the exception, not the rule. Even ones big pots in a nearby shopping center look pretty decent. Another shopping center has some huge, mature ones and look like they’ll have a couple blooms this year.

 

The above about live oaks bending like mad was certainly true. One of my live oaks typically has its lowest branches maybe 15’ up and it had so much ice on it that the lowest branches were at chest-height. I’m still astounded it didn’t snap.

Edited by bananaman
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Meangreen94z
2 hours ago, ahosey01 said:

Jesus this is nuts!  I’ve never seen a storm like this in person.  I grew up in Chicago and you only rarely get ice there - it’s always snow.  Now I live in AZ and... well... this ain’t happening here. Lol

Yeah I was shooting for Phoenix or Tucson, but settled with my wife on Austin. I was thinking about it as the freeze unfolded here and it was in the 70’s there. But no regrets, I can’t grow everything I would in Arizona, but have found a number of uncommon plants that will do well here.

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amh
4 hours ago, Meangreen94z said:

Yeah, excessive irrigation can lead to a thinner, faster growing trunk on some species, but I think the thick, glass like ice was the factor. The weight folded Live Oak branches to the ground or snapped them. Trees that can make it through hurricanes along the Texas coast sometimes unscathed.

     The Yucca that seemed to suffer were multitrunk variations where the trunks branched off at 45-60* angles. The angle with the weight led to damage.

thanks

-Daniel

A5D976A0-3E2C-4C11-A608-AF4B1DB80709.jpeg

099522C8-E03C-4684-BEF5-FB108A517024.jpeg

I was lucky in that I only had slight glazing and snow. During the 2007 ice storm, I had a 30+ foot long oak limb break just barely missing my house.

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ColdBonsai

Yucca x schotii if it hasn't been mentioned. Should be good down to about -20, get 10+ feet tall.  Just got one for my yard. Zone 7 high desert.

Google some pics of them, their smooth trunks and leaf appearance remind me of a cordyline.

Edited by ColdBonsai

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PricklyPearSATC
5 hours ago, ahosey01 said:

Jesus this is nuts!  I’ve never seen a storm like this in person.  I grew up in Chicago and you only rarely get ice there - it’s always snow.  Now I live in AZ and... well... this ain’t happening here. Lol

Ice is a southern thing.  It has to do with a warmer atmosphere with colder ground temps.  Up north, it's pretty much the opposite.  However, there was a horrific ice storm in  March 1976.  The Kettle Moraine was full of downed trees afterward. 

https://madison.com/wsj/weather/photos-remembering-the-great-ice-storm-of-1976/collection_b528444d-9b92-58d7-8d74-59c3a0e9b789.html#2

Edited by PricklyPearSATC

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Silas_Sancona
55 minutes ago, PricklyPearSATC said:

Ice is a southern thing.  It has to do with a warmer atmosphere with colder ground temps.  Up north, it's pretty much the opposite.  However, there was a horrific ice storm in  March 1976.  The Kettle Moraine was full of downed trees afterward. 

https://madison.com/wsj/weather/photos-remembering-the-great-ice-storm-of-1976/collection_b528444d-9b92-58d7-8d74-59c3a0e9b789.html#2

Agree, usually a Wx event more often seen in the southern US but, when they do occur in the Central Plains/ Midwest, they're significant..

While living in Kansas and Ohio, experienced two of the regions' more recent significant ice storm events. The Kansas event took out a high percentage of the trees in/around Kansas City. I myself had 6ft ice cicles hanging from the roof of my 2 1/2 story apartment and nearly 2" of Ice covering the entire rail of my stairway / car..  on top of a layer of snow and sleet that had fallen before the main event rolled through.

The Ohio event ( on Valentine's Day, oddly enough, ) wasn't exceptional compared to the Kansas event  but left me in the dark for several hours / shut down everything for a couple days. Don't recall hearing of much major tree damage, except closer to the river/ over on the Kentucky side of the river.

Pretty to look at as the sun rises but not fun to clean up after. Glad i'll never have to experience that again.

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Collectorpalms

Which is a better deal a 12-14 inch Agave Ovatifolia or a similar sized agave Agave Parryi Truncata, or a Agave parryi var. huachucensis  with 4 pups.

About equal cold hardiness? About same price $45-$65 OR AGAVE NEOMEXICANA FOR OVER 100 WITH SHIPPING

Edited by Collectorpalms

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Meangreen94z

I alway had problems with Parryi in Houston, granted College Station is slightly drier/less humid. Truncata does the best in a wet climate. Huachucensis will rot there, Neomexicana will probably struggle. Ovatifolia is fool proof.

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Collectorpalms
7 hours ago, Meangreen94z said:

I alway had problems with Parryi in Houston, granted College Station is slightly drier/less humid. Truncata does the best in a wet climate. Huachucensis will rot there, Neomexicana will probably struggle. Ovatifolia is fool proof.

Thanks!

is there anyway to make ovatifolias make new plants? Would root cuttings do anything?

Edited by Collectorpalms

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mulungu
On 4/2/2021 at 3:17 PM, Xenon said:

Any data on "cold hardy" bromeliads? The xeric species are pretty cold hardy but also curious to see how some of the savannah stuff from the southern Brazil/Argentina did. Any living Aechmea or Vriesea? 

Besides Dyckia Cherry Coke mentioned above:

Champ/ (exposed to 7F/-13.9C ultimate low and open sky, with ice and snow):
Tillandsia caliginosa-- only minor damage of outer leaves, similar to native Tillandsia recurvata and Tillandsia usneoides. 

238862468_tillandsiacaliginosainarcticblastfreezesnow_LI.thumb.jpg.4f781ac6f0179f91af0fce8b29eddb24.jpg

 

Standing tall/ (exposed to 10 F/-12.2C ultimate low, covered by deck; no snow or ice exposure)
Tillandsia argentina
T. bergeri (one of them may be aeranthos--tag fell off)
T. simulata (mild to moderate burn of leaf tips only)
T. xiphioides

 

On the bubble: (exposed to 10F/-12.2C covered by deck; no snow or ice exposure): 
Aechmea Covata Too-- one individual from one clump still fighting; all others that filled two 10" pots were killed
Dyckia Naked Lady offset, Tillandsia bartramii, and Billbergia nutans Blondie all have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peeling, but we shall see.

 

Rest in Peace, 2021 (will give more time, but 95-100% sure these didn't make it: exposed to 10F covered by deck, no snow or ice exposure):

Aechmea distichantha
A. gamosepala
A. kertesziae
A. lindenii (comata)
Aechmea Phoenix
A. Pink Buttons
A. recurvata var. recurvata
A. recurvata x gamosepala
Billbergia nutans x Aechmea recurvata
Billbergia Santa Barbara
Fascicularia bicolor 
N. concentrica
Puya berteroana
Puya chilensis
Tillandsia australis pups
T. dorotheae
T. floridana
T. subteres
T. setacea (more like 90% sure is dead)
T. 'Califano'
xNeomea Dotty
xNeomea Shooting Star

All the above usually spend the winter outside under live oak canopy, and maybe covered with a blanket a couple times a year for good measure if any freezes threaten to dip below 25F/-3.9C.  Standard Billbergia nutans was in flower at the time the freeze came, and I didn't want to ruin those, so pulled it into the garage.  It was  burned back to the soil when exposed to open sky at 16F/-8.9C  in the freeze of Jan. 2018 here, but sprouted back.  Would be interested to see how that one performed for others in this event.

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Collectorpalms

Thank for the post above. What else DID not make it this freeze that one may thought would have?

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amh

Does anyone know the true hardiness of Cereus repandus?

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Meangreen94z
22 hours ago, Collectorpalms said:

Thanks!

is there anyway to make ovatifolias make new plants? Would root cuttings do anything?

Some propagators core out the center of non-offsetting agave, which forces offsets to form in the center. It ruins your original agave though. Barton Springs Nursery had small Ovatifolia for $8.99 or $9.99 last weekend. East Austin Succulents might occasionally have them cheap as well.

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Collectorpalms
On 4/5/2021 at 9:40 PM, Meangreen94z said:

Some propagators core out the center of non-offsetting agave, which forces offsets to form in the center. It ruins your original agave though. Barton Springs Nursery had small Ovatifolia for $8.99 or $9.99 last weekend. East Austin Succulents might occasionally have them cheap as well.

Wow, that was a good deal. I saw some unusual ones on plant delights. Scalloped leaves. One Looked these: a little bit beat up in Bryan.

18AB5159-C292-48E0-93A7-685C824ACBDA.jpeg

Edited by Collectorpalms

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Collectorpalms

Yucca Treculeana?

C9D07E42-49D6-4732-9B19-07092F88686F.png

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Meangreen94z
48 minutes ago, Collectorpalms said:

Yucca Treculeana?

C9D07E42-49D6-4732-9B19-07092F88686F.png

It looks like it, but I’m guessing it came from South Texas or Mexico. The Central Texas variation was leaf hardy in habitat. Same with Faxoniana. Some unfazed but I’ve seen a few that the whole head burned. They were likely Carnerosana, which off and on is it’s own species. They have a more prominent spike on the tip of the leaf, the length of the leaf is usually slightly smaller, and they cap out at 15-20 feet vs. 40 feet for Faxoniana. Carnerosana is along the border in Big Bend and into Mexico. Faxoniana is further North, around I-10 and into New Mexico.

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