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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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yucca succulent plants of the genus Yucca in the family Agavaceae, which yield various foods and beverages. The common yucca, Y. filamentosa, is also known as Eve’s thread or Adam’s needle, since both threads and needles can be made from the leaves. The spiked leaves have also given rise to the name Spanish bayonet.

Yucca flower clusters were an important vegetable in C. America and the south-west of the USA, and are still eaten (rather like cauliflower, says one author). Those of, for example, Y. glauca (soapweed yucca) and Y. elephantipes (Spanish dagger, izote) can be used raw in salads, or boiled or battered and fried. Those of Y. brevifolia, the Joshua tree yucca, are best if parboiled first, to remove bitterness.