Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Yucca torreyi

with 20 comments


When we visited Longhorn Cavern State Park in January I made a mental note to return in the spring to check out the wildflowers on the property. That checking-out came on March 17th. As we approached along Park Road 4 we couldn’t help noticing some attractive Yucca torreyi plants in full flower, though unfortunately there weren’t safe places to pull over near them. Arriving at Longhorn Caverns, safety wasn’t the problem: finding an empty space in the unexpectedly crowded parking lots was. (Tour groups now numbered in the dozens, whereas our January tour consisted of a whopping four visitors.) I don’t think you’ll have any trouble understanding why two of the vernacular names for this yucca species are Spanish bayonet and Spanish dagger; the “Spanish” presumably goes back to the time when Mexico, including Texas, was a colony of Spain.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 22, 2023 at 4:26 AM

20 Responses

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  1. Most times I can’t get the sky to cooperate with me. Nice shot, Steve.


    March 22, 2023 at 7:19 AM

  2. The yucca looks like it “goosed” the sky, causing the clouds to scatter. That’s a great capture!


    March 22, 2023 at 8:35 AM

    • Can’t speak for the sky, but my left knee got jabbed a bit by a leaf point lower down. Good skies have favored me more than usual lately.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2023 at 9:11 AM

  3. I like to stroke prickly cacti, but these yucca-torreyi plants look a tad too intimidating.

    Peter Klopp

    March 22, 2023 at 9:44 AM

    • One good thing is that these yucca leaves are large, and in theory easy to see and avoid. Prickly pears, in contrast, in addition to noticeably spines have clusters of tiny spines called glochids that insidiously get into people’s skin and don’t easily come out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2023 at 10:58 AM

      • If you’re busy gardening it can be too easy to get caught out by sharp plants – a cordyline here managed to sneak a tip through the side of my glasses and nicked the white of my eye. Ow! But no serious damage. So do be wary!

        Ann Mackay

        March 26, 2023 at 5:16 AM

  4. […] torreyi with particularly fresh and photogenic flowers. I carefully reached in over the “bayonets” and made some […]

  5. Between the plant and the sky, that is a terrific photo, Steve.

    Eliza Waters

    March 22, 2023 at 7:44 PM

    • I moved around trying out different ways of juxtaposing the plant against the sky while at the same time not including unwanted things in the background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2023 at 8:48 PM

  6. This was one of my first three exotic species of Yucca. It is a long story that involves a sinful purchase.


    March 22, 2023 at 8:03 PM

  7. The clouds look like fluff catching on the plant’s spears; analogues to milkweed or old man’s beard. I love the buds of this plant; I was lucky enough to find some in Rockport this year, and hope to find more in the hill country in a few weeks — although it may be too late in mid-April.


    March 22, 2023 at 9:38 PM

    • I’ve sometimes played around (photographically) with yucca buds. In this case the plant was well past that point, even as the clouds were not well past the points of the leaves.

      If mid-April proves too late for yucca buds, plenty of other natural delights will still be there waiting for you then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 23, 2023 at 6:53 AM

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