The Torrey yucca sometimes reaches a height of 20 feet, but more commonly 3–10 feet. The trunk is often branched, but sometimes has a single stem. The flower head may extend to 2 feet on the upper portion of the stem. The flowers are bell-shaped, 2–3 inches long, creamy-white or tinged with purple, waxy, with 6 tepals, 6 stamens, and 1 pistil which is 1–1 1/2 inches long. Leaves are 2–4 1/2 feet long, straight and rigid, ending in a sharp spine 1 1/2–2 inches long, they radiate around the stem.
This species was named for John Torrey (1796-1873), the Columbia University botanist, who designated this yucca as a new variety in 1859. Native Americans ate the pulpy fruits of this and related shrubby species either raw or roasted; they also dried and ground them into meal for winter use. The coarse fibers of the long leaves were made into ropes, mats, sandals, baskets, and cloth.
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