Dasylirion leiophyllum Engelm. ex Trel.
Green Sotol, Smooth-leaved Sotol, Smooth-leaf Sotol, Sotol, Desert Candle
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
USDA Symbol: DALE2
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
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 InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: NM , TX
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas, Flat desert areas, Chaparral & brush country
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 DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
BibliographyBibref 307 - Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest: Including recipes, harmful plants, natural dyes, and textile fibers: A Practical Guide (1999) Tull, D.
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 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 resourcesUSDA: Find Dasylirion leiophyllum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Dasylirion leiophyllum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Dasylirion leiophyllum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-04-11
Research By: TWC Staff