The palmilla (Yucca elata) belongs to Agavaceae (the Agave family). It is a small evergreen tree that is native to southwestern North America; from Arizona to New Mexico, western Texas and northern Mexico. This tree grows primarily in deserts and can reach about 4.5 m in height. The leaves are very narrow, 30-90 cm long and less than 1.5 cm wide, flexible, not toothed but sharp-pointed, and bearing fine fibers along their whittish margins. The white, bell-shaped flowers bloom in a panicle at the apex of the stem. The young stems and roots contain large quantities of soapy saponins, and they were commonly used as a substitute for soap and shampoo by the native Americans.