Spanish Dagger
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Spanish Dagger
ntroduced Photo: Sarita Chauhan
Common name: Spanish Dagger, Spanish Bayonet, Adam's Needle, Palm Lily, Roman Candle • Manipuri: ꯌꯦꯔꯨꯝꯂꯩ Yerum lei
Botanical name: Yucca aloifolia    Family: Asparagaceae (Asparagus family)

A very ornamental plant - this evergreen shrub grows to about 2-3 m. Usually it is a single unbranched fleshy stem with a terminal crown of numerous stiff, fleshy leaves tipped with a hard spine, resemble daggers. These leaves are around 70 cm long, 5-8 cm wide, grey-green. The tall-conical flowering spike appears in late summer, carrying numerous pendulous, creamy-white, cup-shaped flowers, sometimes tinged outside with crimson. The Manipuri name Yerum lei means egg-flower, and is inspired from the half open flowers which look like white eggs. Fruits are seed-cases, around 5 cm long, with tiny glossy seeds, 0.5 cm long. Plants do not flower every year, requiring hot summers to initiate flowering. The flowers are produced in the autumn and are often damaged by early frosts. The scent of the flowers is most pronounced at night.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in J.N.U, Delhi.

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