Adam's Needle bearing fruit: what now?
July 9, 2012 7:10 AM   Subscribe

YuccaFilter: I have an Adam's Needle in my front yard (yucca filamentosa, I believe) which has flowered, and is now bearing fruit! My question: what to do with these little green gourds?

It seems like Adam's Needle fruit is edible, but I've no idea how to prepare them, what they taste like. I've heard about the flowers being edible (with eggs?), which seems to be A Thing in Costa Rica. The flowers are long gone, but what to do about the fruit? Is it edible? How does one prepare it? What does it taste like?

In the alternative, forgetting about eating them, how could I use the fruit to propagate a new plant? Is that a worthwhile project? How would one go about that?

Thanks for any information you might have. I'm just so excited to have fruit on this thing for the first time, that I feel obliged to use them somehow.
posted by Capt. Renault to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
I couldn't find any recipes for them. But after you read this account of how they pollinate, you might not want to eat them anyway:
At night, the fragrant flowers attract the female moth that feeds on the nectar. She then rolls pollen from the flowers into a ball that is three times the size of her head and carries the pollen ball to the next flower. There, she first lays eggs inside the immature ovary and then deposits the pollen on the flower’s stigma insuring that seeds will form to feed her progeny. Because the larvae mature before they are able to consume all of the seeds (60 to 80% of the seeds remain viable), the plants are able to reproduce as well.
posted by ubiquity at 7:31 AM on July 9, 2012

"The leaves, stems and roots of this plant can be used to stun fish."

I wouldn't knowingly eat yucca. (I've eaten it unknowingly, and felt poisoned afterwards. It was pretty yummy though.)
posted by gjc at 9:48 AM on July 9, 2012

Best answer: My yuccas have (over the course of fifteen years) grown and divided so that now instead of two arrangements of three spindly plants, I have two five-foot diameter mounds that send up five or more flower stalks every spring. So, if you're jonesing for more plants, just hang around awhile; you'll get them. Also, I let the flower stalks remain standing. The cardinals love the seeds and the downy woodpeckers consider the stalks self-refilling feeders: They peck holes all around the stems digging out bugs, then bugs find the hidey-holes in the stems and crawl in, the downies come back and dig out the bugs, and so on, all summer/fall/winter/spring until the new flower stalks are showing and I cut down the old ones. Also, because I leave the seedpods in place, the seed is scattered and several new yuccas have sprouted quite all on their own--I think there were two new ones this spring to add to the three that showed up last year, and the one that is forming a sizable clump in the backyard where some cardinal pooped it into being three or four years ago--it even bloomed this year. At some point, I will have to start just yanking out the new ones i find on my slope/in my yard or surrender all the property to them. So I guess what I'm saying is that if you want to try starting them from seed, it can't be too terribly difficult. The only trick might be if they need a season of cold to germinate. Here; try this link. It says sow fresh seeds held over the winter--no mention of needing a cold snap.

That link also says something about using the petals in salads and removing the seeds from teh pods before cooking, but that's as far as it goes.
posted by miss patrish at 10:41 AM on July 9, 2012

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