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Here is a happy Michael, less than an hour into our training hike last weekend. He is standing in front of my favorite plant of all time, the yucca. The yucca plant is a unique plant. It grows in the dessert and it has lots of magical properties. (I may be exaggerating slightly when I say “magical”.) The particular variety found in the desserty-wild places of the San Fernando Valley was near extinction in the eighties because back in the seventies people thought it was hilarious fun to tie a yucca to the back of their pickup truck and then drive away really fast, ripping the plant from the earth, dragging it for miles, leaving nothing but a pulpy stump behind.

People are idiots.

But I’m getting off topic.

yucca blossoms

Not bad for a point-and-shoot

The reason I say the yucca has magical features is because each part of the plant has a beneficial use. The long, sword-like leaves at the base of the plant are made up of dozens of strong fibers. If you pull the leaf apart, separate the fibers, then braid them together, you’ll have rope that only compares to hemp rope in its strength and durability. The leaves have razor-sharp needles at their tips, which you can use as sewing needles. A little yucca strand and one of those needles and you won’t ever need a needle and thread again. Also, the liquid that is released from the leaves when you are harvesting the yucca threads makes a fabulous natural shampoo. The icing on the yucca cake are its blossoms, which are edible and as sweet as candy.

edible blossom

Mike didn’t believe me that the blossoms were edible and delicious, so after we took this picture I ate one. It was kind of gross.

So much for magical qualities.