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I saw this plant in the entrance to the Princess of Wales conservatory in Kew Gardens yesterday, but couldn't see a name tag for it. Does anyone know what it is? It had a very tall flower spike with green pods on and the leaves were grassy and clumping. It was with the cacti and succulents.

  • 1
    Hi Rach. I've never been to that garden, although I just looked it up and it's gorgeous!! I'm having trouble understanding how the second picture fits in with the first. Is the spike growing sideways out of the dark part in the first picture? Also, did you see any purple flowers on that plant? The spike kind of looks like purple flowers which have gone to seed. Unfortunately, I'm not the expert here, but some clarification might be helpful. Thanks. Oct 29, 2017 at 21:29
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    Talk about a great picture showing spider mite!!!! Ugh. I'd be talking to the conservatory telling them they've got a problem!
    – stormy
    Oct 29, 2017 at 22:04
  • Yes Sue the gardens are indeed gorgeous there. I especially loved the Princess of Wales conservatory and the palm house. The first photo is probably confusing because it is upside down. I've tried to change it but it keeps flipping it each time.
    – Rach
    Oct 30, 2017 at 7:04
  • And well spotted with the spider mite Stormy! Pretty gross!!
    – Rach
    Oct 30, 2017 at 7:06
  • @stormy - I'm puzzled - what makes you think this plant has a spider mite infestation?
    – Bamboo
    Oct 30, 2017 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


It's a Yucca variety, possibly Yucca angustissima var.toftiae, though the leaves in your image look a fraction broader than they should be, so maybe a close relative. It has these curly filaments and narrow grass like leaves, which only make a relatively small clump at the base, but the flower stalk is anything up to 7 feet tall - the green seed pods are fairly typical of many Yucca varieties. Like most Yuccas, it forms clumps over time. Next to impossible to find a good photo of it, never mind one in flower, nor much detailed information, but there is an image of the basal leaf growth here.

Yucca filamentosa is much more commonly seen, which produces a fairly impressive flower spike, but I doubt Kew would feature anything quite so commonplace; its leaves are quite a bit broader and usually longer than the ones in your photo.

  • I had a feeling it was some kind of yucca. It does seem to fit well with the angustissima with the curly filaments, small clumping grass like leaves and huge flower stalk so I will mark this answer as correct unless anyone knows any different. Thank you
    – Rach
    Oct 30, 2017 at 7:10
  • By the way, I see no evidence of spider mite - if this plant was exposed to outdoor air at the entrance to the House, then it definitely won't be any kind of spider mite - here in the UK, that only happens on indoor plants. Not quite sure why someone thought it might have spider mite really...
    – Bamboo
    Oct 30, 2017 at 11:38
  • I believe you might be right about the yucca, Bamboo. But I am puzzled why being exposed to outdoor air at the entrance would be a definite reason to not have spider mite? This looks like it is indeed an 'indoor' plant? I used to live in your very same latitude and spider mite were out of doors everywhere, especially under eaves. 'Someone'? Grins...
    – stormy
    Oct 30, 2017 at 21:10
  • @Rach I agree as well, Yucca...those curly hairs on the leaves I've never seen on Carex either. Good instincts!
    – stormy
    Oct 30, 2017 at 21:17
  • @stormy spider mites on plants outdoors in the UK are rare as hen's teeth -the only time you might see them is if its been extremely hot for a long time, usually in the south east,but its never usually hot enough for long enough here - changeable maritime climate after all. Primarily a problem in glasshouses and houseplants here
    – Bamboo
    Oct 30, 2017 at 21:35

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