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Dasylirion leiophyllum (Green sotol)
Lytle, Melody

Dasylirion leiophyllum

Dasylirion leiophyllum Engelm. ex Trel.

Green Sotol, Smooth-leaved Sotol, Smooth-leaf Sotol, Sotol, Desert Candle

Liliaceae (Lily Family)


USDA Symbol: DALE2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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. During droughts, the round, cabbage-like 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).


From the Image Gallery

45 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Leaves up to about 3 feet long. Flower stalk up to about 20 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas, Flat desert areas, Chaparral & brush country

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Caliche type, Limestone-based, Igneous


Use 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 on display at the following locations:

NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Dasylirion leiophyllum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Dasylirion leiophyllum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Dasylirion leiophyllum


Record Modified: 2023-04-11
Research By: TWC Staff

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