View Full Version : Is yucca Edible????!?!?!

02-06-2008, 01:39 AM
is all types of yucca edible i believe this is the one im most intrested in
does this yucca have edible roots? or is it only certain strains?
is the whole plant edible?
the reason i ask is that they are all over the area i hike in.... you cant avoid them.. it will be 3 feet deep in snow and when you go to sit down you get stabed by them. they are everywere.

02-06-2008, 01:44 AM
I cant say I know about all types of Yucca, but In Louisiana, we do have one species of Yucca and it is definatly not edible.

02-06-2008, 01:57 AM
My mother always said put that down, thats yucckie. Don't know if that helps.

02-06-2008, 08:42 AM
Try this http://www.californiagardens.com/Plant_Pages/yucca_whipplei.htm

02-06-2008, 08:46 AM
Or perhaps http://library.thinkquest.org/12641/basketmaker/yucca.html

Any plant that can be used to make paint, soap or poison probably has some parts that you may not want to eat. Hopeaks mom was probably right. (most moms are)

02-06-2008, 08:56 AM
This is an area I won't venture a guess on. Wrong advice could make you very sick or worse. You need a positive ID on any plant before making an assessment of whether or not it is edible and/or what parts are edible. Since you don't have edible plant books yet, contact your local county extension service and ask to speak with the Extension Agent or a Master Gardener. Or talk to someone that has a lot of experience in your location on edible plants. The Los Angeles Botanical Garden might also be able to answer your questions and you can see living examples.

02-06-2008, 05:14 PM
cuz i was reading that yucca roots are edible, but i didnt know if its only certain species

crashdive123 thanks for the links to

02-12-2008, 04:24 PM
a indin ate one and thow it up and said yucca

02-13-2008, 03:07 AM
yuccas contain saponins, concentrated largely in the roots but probably present through all parts of the plant in most species and are toxic. specific parts of certain species contain none, or insignificant enough amounts to be safe to eat according to most sources, and many species have been, and still are used medicinaly but most references to yucca roots being baked and eaten seem to be confusion with yuca, the cassava tuber, from south america. it is a staple food in many places and is grown as a primary agricultural crop.


02-17-2008, 05:07 AM
Their is a relative of yucca called agave. They make somewhat of a decent drink out of it called Tequila.
Here's a decent article on yuccas and agaves. It's mostly on their uses for cordage, but there's some edibility info in it as well.

I'd still suggest further research into this area. Check wikipedia on yuccas and they have a decent list of the various species, most with pictures.

Gray Wolf
02-17-2008, 02:30 PM
This is a good database with over 7000 entries for Edible Plants, Alternative Fruits, Roots, Leaves and flowers, and Medicinal Plants.

"Plants For A Future is a resource center for rare and unusual plants, particularly those which have edible, medicinal or other uses. We practice vegan-organic permaculture with emphasis on creating an ecologically sustainable environment based largely on perennial plants."


Chris, this link would be a good sticky, JMHO

02-18-2008, 12:35 AM
cool thank you

02-20-2008, 04:29 PM
All I can tell you is:
- I had fried yucca root at Disneyworld at one of their walk-up vendors.

- One or 2 of my edible plant books says the root is edible.

- But you are correct, one species may be edible, and another may not be.

You know I think I saw raw yucca root at Meijer one year. We have a lot of hispanics here in West Michigan and so stores often carry food they are used to seeing.

03-08-2008, 12:48 AM
I can't say about all parts, but I did see yucca root for sale at the Eglin A.F.B., commissary in the vegetable section.

03-10-2008, 01:34 PM
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the genus comprising species of perennials, shrubs, and trees. For other uses, see Yucca (disambiguation).

Yucca filamentosa in New Zealand
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Liliopsida

Order: Asparagales

Family: Agavaceae

Genus: Yucca

many, see text

The yuccas comprise the genus Yucca of 40-50 species of perennials, shrubs, and trees in the agave family Agavaceae, notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal clusters of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry parts of North America, Central America, and the West Indies.

Yuccas have a very specialized pollination system, being pollinated by the yucca moth; the insect purposefully transfers the pollen from the stamens of one plant to the stigma of another, and at the same time lays an egg in the flower; the moth larva then eats some of the developing seeds, but far from all.

Yuccas are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Many yuccas also bear edible parts, including fruits, seeds, flowers, flowering stems, and more rarely roots, but use of these is sufficiently limited that references to yucca as food more often than not stem from confusion with the similarly spelled but botanically unrelated yuca.

Dried yucca wood has the lowest ignition temperature of any other wood, making it one of the more desirable woods for fire-starting.

The "yucca flower" is the state flower of New Mexico. No species name is given in the citation.

Even a Joshua tree is considered an Yucca (ucca).

03-10-2008, 04:48 PM
Thanks AZ. Could you step on over to the Introductions section and tell us a little about yourself?

04-12-2008, 07:29 PM
Narco - I found a reference that says Yucca flowers (Yucca filamentosa) are edible. Unfortunately, the don't appear to grow in the West or Southwest. Below is a link to a map. But here's a recipe for them for everyone else.

About 24 Yucca flowers
2 cups peas, freshly shelled or thawed if frozen
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Clove of garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Wash the yucca flowers an remove the stamens. Pat them dry.

Steam the peas until just barely done, pour the water off, and keep covered.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cut the garlic clove into slivers. Saute' them in the butter for about 2 minutes. Do not allow the garlic or butter to brown. The butter should just barely begin to turn golden. Remove the garlic from the butter and discard. (yeah, right. That would go on toast for me!)

Add the yucca flowers to the skillet, stirring well so that they all are coated by the butter. Cook them until they just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes or so. Add the peas to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and toss well.

Cover for about 1 minute, taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

This book says the yucca plant blooms in August with creamy white flowers with a purplish tinge. It tastes vegetably (what the heck does that mean?), slightly bitter with a hint of artichoke.


Click on your state and it will show the counties it grows in.

04-17-2008, 02:41 PM
I have several of these in my yard and I have eaten the flowers. As for a renewable edible source I would suggest harvesting the flowers, they are great additions to salads. The rest you should leave alone (including roots). The Yuca (pronounced juca) root is closer to a potato in consistency than the agave roots you would get from a yucca plant.

04-17-2008, 03:20 PM
There's a lot of different Yuccas, I think all the roots are toxic, at least raw - cooking destroys the toxin. The roots are also toxic to fish, you can use large amounts of root to kill fish - don't eat the fish raw.

05-16-2008, 10:37 PM
All the yuccas that look like yuccas have edible fruits and flowers. They vary as far as which is best in the flower or fruit stage. The flower stalks can be cut into sections and boiled or roasted, then peeled, and are pretty good with butter and seasonings. The seeds can be roasted and ground and boiled, but I have not tried that. Note that there are yucca species that do not look like yuccas, and most are rare and should not be disturbed or messed with, like Joshua trees and saguaros.

08-13-2008, 09:08 PM
cuz i was reading that yucca roots are edible, but i didnt know if its only certain species

crashdive123 thanks for the links to

make sure that your source is not confusing yucca with yuca. If you see it in the grocery store, and we commonly do here in Georgia, then it is yuca a.k.a manioc (Manihot esculenta). Sometimes at the grocery store they spell it wrong and call it yucca root. This is not the same plant as those from the Yucca genus which are the ones you find in the US with the sharp leaves. I always worry when I see yuca labeled as yucca at the grocery store. I'd hate to think someone will see that and think "oh, I have that plant in my yard, I'll eat it".

As far as I know, and I'm not an expert, yucca root is *not* edible although you can make soap and fish poison from it. At least some of the yucca species do however have edible flowers. Maybe all of them do, but I certainly don't know that so find out for sure about your particular species before you eat it.


basic info on yuca:

basic info on yucca:

08-14-2008, 12:40 AM
I can't say about all parts, but I did see yucca root for sale at the Eglin A.F.B., commissary in the vegetable section.

and what you saw was almost certainly not yucca root but yuca root that had been mislabeled. I see that mistake all the time in grocery stores.

08-14-2008, 01:04 AM
yeah, as i've mentioned, another name for that root is cassava [Manihot esculenta]. it is a deciduous shrub, bearing no relation to yucca. it's one of the largest carb crops in the world, being popular mostly in south america and africa.

10-13-2008, 10:23 AM
A food staple in South America, yuca (one C) is a member of the cassava family. Sometimes misspelled as yucca. I have eaten this boiled with garlic and onion in South Florida. It was delicious and the yuca tasted like a combination of cabbage and potato.

From the following link:

Processing and Toxicity:

The leaves cannot be consumed raw since they contain free and bound cyanogenic glucosides. These are converted to cyanide in the presence of linamarase, a naturally occurring enzyme in cassava. The roots, however, are eaten raw everywhere in Africa. Cassava varieties are often categorized as either "sweet" or "bitter", signifying the absence or presence of toxic levels of cyanogenic glucosides. The so-called "sweet" (actually "not bitter") cultivars can produce as little as 20 milligrams of cyanide (CN) per kilogram of fresh roots, while "bitter" ones may produce more than 50 times as much (1 g/kg). Cassavas grown during drought are especially high in these toxins.[6] [7] One dose of pure cassava cyanogenic glucoside (40mg) is sufficient to kill a cow.

Societies which traditionally eat cassava generally understand that soaking and/or cooking is necessary to avoid getting sick.[citation needed] However, problems do occur - konzo (also called mantakassa) is a paralytic neurological disease associated with several weeks of almost exclusive consumption of insufficiently processed bitter cassava. Dr Jasson Ospina, an Australian plant chemist, has developed a simple method to reduce the cyanide content of cassava flour.[8] The method involves mixing the flour with water into a thick paste and then letting it stand in the shade for five hours in a thin layer spread over a basket, allowing an enzyme in the flour to break down the cyanide compound. The cyanide compound produces hydrogen cyanide gas, which escapes into the atmosphere, reducing the amount of poison by up to five-sixths and making the flour safe for consumption the same evening. This method is currently being promoted in rural African communities that are dependent on cassava.[9]

For some smaller-rooted "sweet" varieties, cooking is sufficient to eliminate all toxicity. The larger-rooted "bitter" varieties used for production of flour or starch must be processed to remove the cyanogenic glucosides. The large roots are peeled and then ground into flour, which is then soaked in water, squeezed dry several times, and toasted. The starch grains that float to the surface during the soaking process are also used in cooking.[10] The flour is used throughout the Caribbean. The traditional method used in West Africa is to peel the roots and put them into water for 3 days to ferment. The roots then are dried or cooked. In Nigeria and several other west African countries, including Ghana, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, they are usually grated and lightly fried in palm oil to preserve them. The result is a foodstuff called 'Gari'. Fermentation is also used in other places such as Indonesia.

The reliance on cassava as a food source and the resulting exposure to the goitrogenic effects of thiocyanate has been responsible for the endemic goitres seen in the Akoko area of southwestern Nigeria.[11]
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Yucca (2 Cs) on the other hand found in the Southwest and as an ornamental garden plant is a member of the Agave family. It is the state flower of New Mexico. Native Americans have used yucca for medicinal purposes but not as food. The Pueblo chew the ends of yucca leaves to reveal the fiber and use these as paint brushes for pottery.

To learn how to extract fiber from the yucca, go to this link:


10-13-2008, 12:03 PM
Thanks Paizley. When you get a chance how about heading over to the introduction section and tell us a bit about yourself. Thanks.

07-14-2016, 01:10 PM
Most species of yucca are edible, but that's for the flowers, young flowering shoot, and fruit. What you see sold as "yuca root" is actually manioc, cassava, or tapioca root, which is quite poisonous until it's been properly prepared (pressing to remove the cyanogenic compounds, or thoroughly cooked). The root of some yucca species may be marginally edible, but it's high in saponins, and so is better used to wash your hair and body.

The flowers of most species are pleasantly floral, but mildly bitter when raw, and some people may have a negative reaction to them the same way some react to raw daylily flowers or raw cattail hearts. Cooking generally reduces that problem, but as always, limit your intake of any food until you are more familiar with it. The flowering stem, when it is young and tender, may also be cooked and eaten. I have no direct experience with the fruit, but you'd want to harvest them when they are ripe, but not yet dried. Likely the banana yucca would be the best, but again, I have no direct experience there.

07-14-2016, 01:41 PM
Plantman42....Thanks for the post.
Hunter63 saying Hey and Welcome.......

Wondering how you found this thread from 2008.........?
Just curious.

07-14-2016, 05:03 PM
I've ate Yucca root like from the store many times usually with pork rinds and raw cabbage which is the traditional way in some areas. I've ate pieces of it raw also from time to time and watched others doing the same. There is one root that is very similar to the Yucca root but it is pink on the inside. That root can not be ate raw and must be boiled not fried. It is pronounced key-KEY-stay. Neither of them are in any way similar to the plant we call yucca in the United States.

Alan R McDaniel Jr
07-16-2017, 09:41 PM
All nightshades are not edible, some are deadly poisonous, some will provide you with a rather unique experience, others are delicious AND nutritious.

All Yuccas may not be edible, some may be used for a variety of purposes other than food and some can be made edible if the gatherer, the prepare and the eater knows what they are doing.

If you cut the tip half way through and peel off the fibers attached to it for the length of the leaf it makes a passable needle and thread for some crude sewing. Same with agave. The leaves can be used to skewer small morsels of whatever kind of food you have acquired and hold it securely over the fire. The leaves can be hardened over a fire and used to attack Spanish soldiers if any come around.


07-17-2017, 06:41 PM
So, are you saying some yucca are yucca?

07-17-2017, 07:50 PM
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08-09-2017, 11:56 PM
Do not confuse yucca with yuca. Yuca, also known as cassava, is the root of a plant native to central america, used to make tapioca. One species of cassava is high in cyanide, so it must be soaked, rinsed, then cooked well in a ventilated area so avoid inhalation or consumption of hydrogen cyanide. Another species of cassava (frequently sold in grocery stores) doesn't have these high levels of cyanide, so simply ensuring it's properly cooked is enough to eat it safely. So if you hear people talking about one species of yucca root being edible, and another not, they're likely confusing it with yuca, both species of which are actually edible, one just must be cooked with great care. In regards to actual yucca, this wikihow article might be of help.