After trying for 4 years to collect one of the giant seed pods from our small population of banana yuccas, I was sure this would be the year. One of the plants was in full bloom about a month ago, and after noticing the fleshy fruits were enlarging, I kept watch almost daily.
I should’ve suspected the local population of mule deer were also keeping close watch, because a week ago they snuck in and harvested every single seed pod! Disappointed? Yes. But still determined …….
Then a few days ago I discovered another plant loaded with a dozen of the huge fleshy green pods! Without further ado, I liberated 2 of them and dissection began …..
Curious about what lies hidden inside the unusually large seed pods of the Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata), I grabbed a large knife and sliced …. carefully making both a cross-sectional and a longitudinal cut. My first reaction was ”cucumber!” And my next reaction was ”cucumber!”
Not quite as easy as cutting into a cucumber, the knife only paused a second as it pierced the skin, but met no resistance after cleanly slicing into the fleshy center.
As I laid the longitudinal section open, I was sad to see my cut had gravely injured a small salmon colored worm …. perhaps a larvae of the pronuda moth that pollinates yucca flowers? He had already made quite a feast of the soft flesh, and I wondered if he was intent on eating his way through the fruit to drop on the ground and crawl away or maybe overwinter inside the fruit to emerge next spring as a moth?
I did learn that the two toothy rows of seeds turn black as the pods dry in the fall, and it is possible to collect and store the seeds for spring planting. But I then wondered how many of these tasty pods actually mature before a hungry deer happens by?
What flowers and seeds are you observing this summer?