Scientific Name: Dasylirion wheeleri
Common Names: Common Sotol, Desert Spoon, Sotol
Duration: Perennial (long-lived)
Growth Habit: Shrub, Subshrub, Unusual Shrub
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Desert, Upland. It grows on dry, sunny, rocky slopes.
Flower Color: Dull yellowish to greenish white
Flowering Season: Spring (late), Summer
Height: Leaf rosette to 3 feet (91 cm) tall, flower stalk to 15 feet (4.6 m) tall
Description: The thousands of tiny yellowish or greenish flowers are clustered on a towering flower stalk. The plant does not die after flowering. Male and female flowers are on separate plants. The individual flowers are tiny and have 6 petal-like segments. The flowers are followed by small reddish or brown seed capsules. The leaves are in an attractive basal rosette. The leaves are tough and leathery, linear, grayish-green, 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, and have curved teeth along the margins. The leaf bases are shaped like spoons.
Edible – The inner part of the plants and the core of the flower stems are edible and can be used to make the alcoholic beverage "sotol", but this native plant is protected in Arizona and should not be damaged or killed.
Legal Status – Protected Native Plant (Salvage Restricted)
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Family: Liliaceae – Lily family
Genus: Dasylirion Zucc. – sotol
Species: Dasylirion wheeleri S. Watson – common sotol
More About This Plant