Meet the Yucca Whisperer of West Texas

Meet the Yucca Whisperer of West Texas

Hoven Riley at his Big Bend Yucca Company farm, near Fort Stockton, on May 27, 2022.Hoven Riley knew money was tight at his family’s West Texas cotton farm the year his mom asked him to go outside and dig up a yucca elata to use as a Christmas tree. The species, also known as the soaptree yucca, can grow as tall as twenty feet, and this particular plant was nearly impossible to unearth because it had a “taproot to China,” he recalls. But after a few hours of toil, Riley, who was 12 at the time, and his older brother dragged it inside and spray-painted the daggerlike leaves silver and gold for the holiday. “It was about as gaudy as you can get, but it was still beautiful,” says Riley, now 58. “I guess my passion for yucca goes back…

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Source: Texas Monthly

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