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Plant Highlight: Beschorneria yuccoides

May 2003

Beschorneria is a genus of Mexican plants in the Agave family.  They mostly come from relatively high altitudes and do not grow in desert areas like their relatives the Yuccas and Agaves, but they are reasonably drought-tolerant and many have strikingly attractive flowers.  Their leaves are rather reminiscent of Yuccas, but soft and pliable rather than rigid.  Our featured species is Beschorneria yuccoides, its name alluding to the resemblance of its glaucous leaves to those of Yuccas.  The flowers, however, are very different from the white flowers typical of most Yucca species.  The whole scape and its bracts are a pinkish-red color, with the nodding tubular flowers grading from pinkish-red to green at the mouth.  This year marks the first time that this species has flowered here in the garden.