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Yucca at the Dune's Edge

During vacation this time last year, my daughter and I noticed fruits on these yuccas (Yucca aloifolia) at the edge of the boardwalk as we went to the beach late one day. My curious girl with the pretty nails impulsively picked one and snapped it in half…

Yucca Seedpod in Cross Section

… and declared it looked like okra.

Both yucca and okra produce capsules that eventually dry and split open to release their seeds, and both are edible when young. Yucca fruits taste rather like soap (especially when raw), or if you’re lucky, squash (which is more likely if you roast it). Okra has its prickly hairs and all that mucilage, but the flavor is mild and agreeable.

North Carolina Coast

As we left, a quick snap of the view behind us turned out better the ones I work hard on.

Curious girl might have enjoyed learning that yucca is edible, but she wasn’t about to try it. We walked on the beach for a while looking for shells and turtle nests, and then went home and ate okra from Holden’s instead.

Edible Plants of the Gulf South, Charles M. Allen, PhD, Andrew W. Allen, B.S., and Harry H. Winters, M.D., Allen’s Native Ventures, LLC, 2005.

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