Archived Story

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

Published 4:12pm Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Yucca filamentosa is native to the Southeast but most abundant in the Coastal Plain. It is an evergreen shrub that can be found in woodlands, forests, dunes, roadsides, and disturbed areas.  Although this native plant will not be in flower right now, the plant can be identified by the leaves.  The stiff, sword-like leaves can be up to 2 ½ feet long and are usually 1-3 inches wide with parallel veins.  The leaf margin of younger leaves have fibrous, twisted white strands or filaments.

Yucca filamentosa is the host plant for the Yucca Giant-skipper and the Cofaqui Giant-skipper larvae (caterpillars). The butterflies produce one generation each year, laying large, amber-brown eggs singly on the leaves of Yucca from February to May, depending on the location.  After hatching, young larvae feed on host leaves. As they mature, older larvae bore into the plant crown and feed within the root, constructing a prominent silken tent or chimney at the opening of the burrow, a key indicator to their presence.

If landowners think that they have Yucca filamentosa growing on their property, or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to,

The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora (and fauna) in Polk County and document the species present in the county, making sure that the flora (and fauna) of Polk County is well documented.

- article submitted by Pam Torlina

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