Yucca flowers are lovely to look at and good to eat. The flowers of the spiky perennial have been eaten for centuries and also used for medicinal purposes, as a source of textile fibers and as a cleanser, according to the EduScape website. Yucca plants are interesting in that they not self pollinating and must be physically cross pollinated by the yucca moth--the plant's sole pollinator--in order to reproduce. Author Sharon Apt Russell, in "Anatomy of a Rose: The Secret Life of Flowers," said as a result "the yucca and the yucca moth have evolved to tightly fit each others' needs."
Most flowers have tiny petal-like leaves called sepals. They are located at the end of the stem where the flower blooms. Typically they appear in pairs, or a set of three and just beyond each set of sepals, you find the blossom. In the yucca flower, the three sepals blend in so well with the three petals that all six are simply called tepals. This is the outside of the yucca flower.
A slender, rod-shaped structure serving as the base for the pollen-producing anther, the stamen is where pollen is created. The stamen provides easy access for the yucca's pollinator moth. Each flower has six stamens fixed in a circular pattern. The stamens are highly visible to the yucca moth.
The anther is where yucca pollen is made and stored. The anther is at the top of the stamen and is shaped like a small, round nodule. There are six anthers per flower. The yucca moth lights on these, forces pollen from the anthers and flies off with it to pollinate a flower on another yucca plant.
The stigma is triple lobed and sometimes feathery at the tips. The lobes are shaped in a circle with a small opening in the center. This is where the pollen is pushed by the yucca moth to fertilize the flower. She lays her egg in the ovary of the flower and stuffs the pollen into the stigma to ensure that her offspring will have food.
Capable of producing hundreds of seeds per flower, the multi-lobed ovaries are located within the stigma of the yucca flower. The female yucca moth pierces the ovary and lays an egg within. If the moth does not fertilize the flower, it will soon fall from the plant and will not produce any seeds. This is why the moth only lays her eggs where she places the pollen.