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Flaigg, Norman G.
Dasylirion leiophyllum Engelm. ex Trel.
Green sotol, Sotol, Desert candle
USDA Symbol: DALE2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
The sotol produces an unbranched flower stalk 5–20 feet tall, with long, dense clusters of small white flowers on the upper third. The flowers are of one sex, male on one plant and female on another. At the base of the plant is a crowded cluster of ribbonlike leaves, 1–3 feet long and 1/3–1/2 inch wide at the base. They have spiny teeth along the margins that curve backward toward the base.
Trunks split open during dry spells, allowing wildlife access to the spongy interior and leaf bases. In periods of drought, the round, cabbagelike base is sometimes cut up and fed to cattle after the leaves are removed. It is also a source of alcohol and is used commercially in the production of an alcoholic drink (also called sotol).
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Complexity: Simple Size Notes:
Flowers in 2 foot spike Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
NM , TX Native Habitat:
Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Flat desert areas, Chaparral & brush country USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Caliche type, Limestone-based, Igneous
BenefitUse Ornamental: Easily grown, Security hedge, Rock gardens, Rocky hillside
Use Food: Used by Indians several thousand years who roasted heart and meat at base of leaves in rock-lined pits for 48 hours.
Use Other: Indians used leaves used for weaving baskets and sandals and for thatching.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
NPSOT - Austin Chapter
- Austin, TX
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Record Modified: 2013-03-29
Research By: TWC Staff