Yucca aloifolia, common names Spanish Bayonet, Aloe yucca, Dagger Plant, is from family Agavaceae, it is an evergreen tree growing to 7.5 m at a slow rate. The roots contain saponins. Whilst saponins are quite toxic to people, they are poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass straight through. They are also destroyed by prolonged heat, such as slow baking in an oven. Saponins are found in many common foods such as beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish.
Habitats are sand dunes of the coast, occasionally up to 60 km inland, in pine forests. Established plants are very drought resistant. The flowers open at night and are powerfully fragrant at this time. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by self. The plant is self-fertile. Individual crowns are monocarpic, dying after flowering. A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making ropes, baskets and mats. The leaves have been used in several types of basketry. The leaf splints have been used as brushes to apply colour to pottery. The roots are rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute. They are crushed and then placed in water to form suds that are used in bathing and shampooing. The juice from the plant has been used as a varnish.