"Jumpin' Yuccy" is the popular name given to Schuss-Yucca, a variety of chaparral yucca found throughout the southwestern United States. "Schuss-yucca" derives from the German word "schuss," meaning to shoot up, a reference to this plant's amazing ability to grow a stalk ten to twenty feet high, blossom, and then die, all within a matter of minutes or even seconds.
Botanist Gustav Albrecht provided the first conclusive scientific evidence of the existence of this plant and its remarkable growth cycle in a series of photographs taken at one-second intervals (reproduced below) that accompanied his October 1952 article published in Scientific Monthly
. Albrecht noted that, "Scientists today realize that anything is possible, whether Schuss-yuccas or extra-terrestrial flying saucersparticularly when reported by trained and reliable observers and accompanied by good photographs."
In his article Albrecht also debunked some popular myths about the Jumpin' Yuccy, such as the legend that the famous Spanish desperado and cattle rustler Vasquez met an untimely end when he leapt over a Jumpin' Yuccy just as it was beginning its growth cycle. Albrecht pointed out that this was highly unlikely since the stem of the Jumpin' Yuccy is soft, "like a giant asparagus." Therefore, it "could not reasonably be expected to harm a full-grown Spaniard."
Reference: Gustav Albrecht. "The Schuss-Yucca." Scientific Monthly (Oct. 1952): 250-252.