Washington DC, A to Z: Yucca and Other Ethno-Botanical Plants

While in the Garden Court of the United States Botanical Garden Conservatory, I was so entranced by the Orchid Symphony that I barely looked at the other plants in the room.  As of yesterday,  the 2014 Orchid Symphony only exists in photographs and videos.

The other plants in the Garden Court are ethno-botanical plants, plants used in products such as fibers, food, beverages, cosmetics, wood, spices and others. One example (with very limited use) is the yucca rostrata.

Yucca rostrata (Beaked Yucca)

Yucca rostrata is almost always grown  as an ornamental plant. Yucca fruit can be cooked and eaten, but rarely is.    The root of the yucca rostrata is inedible.  Yucca is often confused with yuca, the root portion of the  manihot esculenta (Cassava).

The only other ethno-botanical plant I took a picture of far is more useful. If you’ve been reading this since  Washington DC, A to Z: Botanic Garden you will recognize this photo of theobroma cacao (cacao tree).  The fruit, called a cacao pod, contains 20 to 60 seeds, usually called “beans”, embedded in a white pulp. These seeds are the main ingredient of chocolate.

Theobroma cacao  (Cacao Tree) 

8 thoughts on “Washington DC, A to Z: Yucca and Other Ethno-Botanical Plants

  1. I always found the yucca plant reminded me of a sea urchin:) The green type-must be the spiky look and ball look. The orchids are beautiful and I watched Anthony Bourdain reservations one time and saw how they retrieved the chocolate-quite interesting


  2. There is so much to do in DC it is overwhelming. You probably saw some wonderful things that I missed. I loved the Orchid Symphony. It was so peaceful to sit and listen to the music while surrounded by beautiful orchids.


  3. You probably have since you live in an area where most of the time it is too hot to wear sweaters. I forgot exactly where you live but this type of yucca is a very common garden plant in areas prone to drought.


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