If any of you are hurting for a free meal or are just hard on cash you should take note of this hearty and extremely resourceful desert plant, the yucca. If you live around the Santa Monica Mountains or have been driving through the canyons you may have noticed that the yuccas are blooming everywhere. They are late Spring bloomers and often clone themselves after they bloom and die, and that's why you will see a dead plant right next to a blooming one. I love observing this amazingly cool plant that could supply so much popping up all around. If I really knew what I was doing I could use it for so many necessary resources. The yucca can be used for: flowers can be eaten raw, the base can be made into a soap/shampoo, and the leaves could be used to make strong rope. The Chumash used this plant for all of those reasons and probably many more and I'm sure that this time of year was always a great time for them. As the yucca flowers are quite tasty and can be found all over the low lying hillsides.
In these economic times I'm attempting to live more like the Chumash by making use of the native flora around me. The yucca flowers are actually not bad and could probably be made into a few tasty dishes with a little experimentation. So if you're starving after a long surf and don't feel like driving all the way home just head for the hills and grab a few flowers off this resourceful plant and head back out for a second outing.
The plant also gave Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon its name. As Craig Stecyk noted in his infamous article on Malibu, The Curse of the Chumash, the Spanish settlers called the plants the Virgin's Torch because of their brightly colored flowers that shimmered in the sunlight.