Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae. Its 40-50 species are notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal panicles of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry (arid) parts of North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Early reports of the species were confused with the cassava (Manihot esculenta). Consequently, Linnaeus mistakenly derived the generic name from the Carib word for the latter, yuca (spelt with a single 'c'). It is also colloquially known in the midwest United States as 'Ghosts in the graveyard', as it is commonly found growing in rural graveyards and when in bloom the flowers appear as an apparition floating. The natural distribution range of the genus Yucca (49 species and 24 subspecies) covers a vast area of North and Central America.
Contributions by Peter coxhead, Melburnian, and Rebou2.