As usual my Yucca filamentosa bloomed for several glorious weeks in June and July. They're so fabulous I cannot imagine the garden without them.
Several blog readers/Instagram followers asked if I'd ever cooked with the blossoms, a couple even sent recipes. I thought about it, but never actually got around to it. Maybe next year?
One day when I was cleaning up and cutting back near the fading yuccas my eye caught something odd. Something that it took awhile for my brain to process and say "no, that's not normal... go back and look again" and so I did...
Huh. Those are not just blooms fallen to the ground, but rather blooms that started to form a seed pod. That's something I've never, ever, seen before.
I started inspecting the bloom stalks and what do you know, I found this...
And I looked up on that same stalk and there were more small pods/fruit forming, only on that stalk though, the others were all bare.
Some of you might remember when I wrote about the yucca moth (here) and fact that we don't have "the moth" here in the PNW so our yuccas go unpollinated. Yucca moths are very specialized and there is a limited number that pollinate any given yucca species.
Unfortunately just a few days later and my hopes for additional fruit were dashed. It's hard to tell in this photo, but all the other potential fruit were gone, aborted. I listed again to the podcast I referenced in that December blog post (podcast here). The yucca expert, Dr. Kari Segraves, talked about the plant being able to abort fruit formation if there are too many yucca moth larvae in the fruit (the larvae feed on the seeds). Is that what happened here? I doubt it ... remember I was told by Dr. Segraves that we don't have the yucca moth here in the PNW. But then again something definitely was at work here—and also how odd that everything I've observed only happened on one bloom stalk when there were a dozen blooming.
The one remaining fruit is getting bigger.
I usually cut down all the spent stalks but I left the one with the fruit and a few others around it. I figured leaving just one would make it seem like an oddity and amp up the chances of vandalism.
I'm watching my one seed pod very closely and will report on what happens next. Any chance there's larvae in there eating the seeds? Did something else happen to pollinate? Inquiring minds want to know! (I doubt they'll get answers...but they want to know!)
Weather Diary, Aug 12: Hi 74, Low 57/ Precip 0
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