The Amazing Yucca Flowers – State Flower of New Mexico
The yucca plant is one of forty different species that inhabit the southwestern United States and Mexico. Some non-desert species also live in the southeastern United States and in the Caribbean Islands. A specific moth pollinates yuccas. In the absence of this moth, yucca plants must be hand pollinated to survive.
Yuccas are in the lily family as indicated by their cream-colored, bell-shaped flowers. Yuccas are actually trunkless shrubs also related to the cassava or tapioca family. Yucca leaves contain strong fibers that can be used to make ropes. Yucca roots contain a natural red dye used for baskets.
Cacti are distinctive and unusual plants, adapted to extremely arid and hot climates, with a wide range of features which conserve water. Their stems have expanded into green succulent structures containing the chlorophyll necessary for life and growth, while the leaves have become the spines for which cacti are so well known.
A tea from the flower buds of the yucca plant has been used to treat diabetes and rheumatism. The buds can also be eaten like bananas. Yucca flowers can be cooked and ground for candy, called colache. The versatile yucca is the state flower of New Mexico.
The flower symbolism associated with the cactus flower is endurance, my heart burns with love and maternal love. Since antiquity, flower symbolism has been a significant part of cultures around the world. For example, the Aztec Indians founded the capital of their empire on a spot where they saw an eagle perched on top of a large cactus. This scene is depicted on the flag of Mexico. There were also ceremonial uses for cacti including starting and stopping rainfall or wind, assisting in funeral rites, and even to place curses on other individuals or tribes.