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Desert Spoon, Common Sotol

Dasylirion wheeleri

Details & Attributes


Plant Type(s) Succulent, perennial
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun
Pollinators Bees
Has Spines Yes
Size
In relative feet, width by height
5 × 6
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season May-July
Flower Color White
Minimum Temperature Range 10 °F
Leaf Description Very long and narrow, forming a rosette at the top of the stem
Fruit Very small.
Longevity
In years
40
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Range Map View SEINet Range Map
Elevation Range 3000-6000 ft.
Ethnobotany Crowns were pit-baked, crushed, and fermented for use as a beverage called "Sotol". Stalks roasted, boiled, eaten raw. Stalks used for cradleboard backs, as a source for material for basketry, mats, and for ceremonial purposes.
Description This agave-like plant grows best in deserts at elevations above 3000 feet. The narrow, blue-green leaves are armed with small, hooked teeth and spring gracefully from a central rosette. The plants have pollen bearing (male) and seed bearing (female) blooms on separate plants; male flowers are creamy white, and the female flowering stems appear a bright green. Although this plant looks somewhat like an agave, once it is an adult it flowers regularly, and the rosette does not die after flowering like agaves do.