Photo by Michael Buckelew
Tomorrow we celebrate Mother's Day. The godly women in my life, whether my mother, wife, daughters-in-law or the mothers of my students, are a delightful gift to me from God. Their beauty causes many hearts to sing as the psalmist instructs, "Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders" (Ps. 105:2).
The wonders that God has provided for us in the wildflower kingdom range from the lowly blooms of the green and gold, to the blankets of Southern ragworts, to the lofty wildflower we celebrate today, a fascinating part of the lily family.
There are about 30 varieties of yucca in the United States. The most common in this area is bear grass (yucca flaccid). This is a relative of the Spanish bayonet (yucca aloofly), Spanish dagger (yucca glorious), and the exotic Joshua tree (yucca brevifolia) of the Mojave Desert.
All varieties of yucca are stiff-leaved, evergreen shrubs or trees. When placed in a rocky dry habitat, they grow to great height. For example, Spanish bayonet may attain 25 feet, Spanish dagger 8 feet, Joshua tree 30 feet, and bear grass 10 feet, when counting the flower spike.
The leaves of the yucca are spearlike. and borne in tufts. Anytime from spring to fall a large flower stalk may emerge from the center of the tuft and bear bell-shaped, drooping blooms.
The stem has course fibers that are used in the manufacture of heavy cords. The softer fibers of the bear grass' leaves were used as filling for chair cushions in colonial days.
The yuccas at the entrance to my driveway are blooming now. Normally we are given two to three weeks to enjoy their beauty.
Several years ago, before all the buds were open, old flowers were already dropping petals. The time between the opening of the first bloom and the last petal to drop was about one week. That was a very short and disappointing time span.
Hopefully, the blooms this year will endure most of this month. If the bear grass in your area are not ready to bloom, remember they may send up a spike any time up to October.
Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His email is email@example.com or call him at 770-929-3697.