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Marcus, Joseph A.
Dasylirion wheeleri S. Wats.
Common sotol, Sotol, Desert Spoon, Desert candle
USDA Symbol: dawh2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Thousands of tiny greenish-white flowers in a long, narrow cluster that grows from a dense bunch of many slender, spiny leaves.
Desert Spoon plants may be treated in the same manner as Agaves to produce food and liquor (sotol). The tough leaves are woven into mats and baskets and used for thatching. The broad, spoon-like base is often used in dried floral arrangements. The smaller Smooth-leaved Sotol (D. leiophyllum), which grows on limestone in southern New Mexico, western Texas, and northern Mexico, has teeth that curve toward the leaf base.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
AZ , NM , TX Native Distribution:
W. Texas to s. Arizona. Native Habitat:
Rocky desert slopes. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry CaCO3 Tolerance:
Medium Conditions Comments: Dasylirion wheeleri
is a drought tolerant desert plant with an attractive arching rosette
of blue-green leaves with sharp teeth along the leaf margins. Placement in the garden should be carefully considered so as not to catch unwary passers-by with thorns. The flower spikes rise dramatically 10 feet above the leaf rosette
and attract hummingbirds. Plants have a tendency to rot in heavy soils. To prevent this, provide excellent drainage and use mineral mulches such as crushed limestone or granite instead of a bark
Wheeler sotol grown as an ornamental and the broad spoonlike leafbase is often used in dried floral arrangements. Use Wildlife:
The sugary trunks and leaf bases of Wheeler sotol have been used to feed cattle during droughts. Use Food:
Indians and Mexicans prepared an alcoholic drink known as sotol by roasting the flower head
in a pit for 24 hours and then distilling the juice. Use Other:
The leaves are used to make mats, baskets, ropes, thatch, and paper. Conspicuous Flowers:
Hummingbirds Deer Resistant:
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Record Modified: 2009-02-20
Research By: BJG, GDB