Yucca filamentosa (photo submitted by Pam Torlina)

Polk County’s most wanted-plants, ‘Adam’s Needle’

Published 4:12pm Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Editor’s note: This article is  another in a series about plant species in Polk County. The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and David Campbell will provide information about one particular plant species each month. They ask residents to let them know if they can identify where the “most wanted plant” described each month can be found in the area.

In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora (and fauna) of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Most Wanted—Plant,” Yucca filamentosa, also known by the common names:  Adam’s Needle, Beargrass, Spoonleaf Yucca, and Curlyleaf Yucca, to name a few.

While PAC is interested in “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Plants,” at times, especially during the winter months, PAC may highlight “Polk County’s Most Wanted-Animal.” This month PAC and David Campbell are interested in both.  Yucca filamentosa is the host plant for the larvae of two butterflies, the Yucca Giant-skipper (Megathymus yuccae), a watch list species in North Carolina, and the Cofaqui Giant-skipper (Megathymus cofaqui), listed as significantly rare in North Carolina. By locating the host plant, we hope to locate evidence of the larva which would indicate the occasional presence of the mobile butterfly. There is a record of Cofaqui Giant-skipper in Polk County, but it has not been seen since 1990.  The butterfly was collected from White Oak Mountain near Tryon Peak.  Recent attempts to relocate this rare butterfly have been unsuccessful due to habitat destruction; a housing development now occupies the site where the butterfly was found.  The only other record of the Cofaqui Giant-skipper in North Carolina is from Alexander County.  

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