Plant Species of the South Kaibab Trail:
hybrid yucca, Yucca baccata X Y. elata
Wendy Hodgson says that these plants are not the hybrid with Y. elata, and may be just a form of Yucca baccata. I'll correct this page in the future when I have time.
See Plant Guide to South Kaibab Trail for an introduction to this page, especially the Introduction To These Species Pages.
This page is just a shell to hold my photographs for now, along with very cryptic notes I made from the identification process, so that readers can see the photographs of this taxon. The identification status, voucher info, and discussion of the species will be added in the future.
Identification status: .
Anne Kelly, Brendan Crill and I saw these arborescent plants with wide leaves, without blooms, just off-trail between Cedar Ridge and Skeleton Point. We were sure they were Yucca schidigera, since they looked from a distance just like numerous plants of Yucca schidigera that we've seen in California. But they aren't! Yucca schidigera lives only in the extreme northwest corner of Arizona, below 3500 feet in elevation.
Instead, these plants appear to be a hybrid between Y. baccata and Y. elata, which are both found on this trail. Y. baccata is found about a mile up trail, and Y. elata is found about a mile down trail.
There are 10(!) vouchers of this hybrid at the Grand Canyon, all from Wendy Hodgson, all from the Tanner Trail in a similar location above the Redwall, except one from the River Trail (connector from the Bright Angel Trail).
The alternative determination is that these are the tree form of Yucca baccata, called var. brevifolia in the Flora of North America treatment, and Y. arizonica and Y. thornberi in Kearney and Peebles. However, Y.b.b. appears not to be found in the Grand Canyon. It is found only at elevations below 5000 feet elsewhere in Arizona.
Of course, observing flowers in the future would greatly aid in this determination.
From a SEINet search on 8 September 2008, there are vouchers of this species from the Coconino County portion of the Grand Canyon. The nearest are at: ; and . Note that there may be additional vouchers at other herbaria not available through SEINet.
First occurrence on South Kaibab Trail: mile 1.89, elevation ~5500 feet (~1675 m).
Number of plants along Trail: Only this single off-trail specimen was found in August 2008.
From 24 August 2008, mile 1.89:
Copyright © 2008-2009 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last Update: 8 September 2008 (note on determination added on 22 April 2009)