Dasylirion wheeleri S. Watson
Sotol, desert spoon
|Kingdom||Plantae||Plants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae|
|Subkingdom||Tracheobionta||Vascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients|
|Division||Magnoliophyta||Flowering plants, also known as angiosperms|
|Class||Liliopsida||Monocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family|
|Subclass||Liliidae||Includes lilies, orchids, and many others|
|Order||Asparagales||A diverse group that includes asparagus|
|Family||Asparagaceae||Agaves, asparagus, hyacinths, and others|
|Genus||Dasylirion||From dasy-, ancient Greek δασύς (dasús, “hairy”); and Greek leirion, “lily”|
|Species||wheeleri||After George Montague Wheeler (1842-1905), who explored and mapped some 72,000 square miles of territory, including the Death Valley and Mojave Desert regions, recording data on archeology, geology, botany, zoology, and Native Americans|
About plant names...
Common sotol is native to southwestern North America.
Identification: Mature plants have a thick trunk up to
5' (1.5 m) in height, with a symmetrical, attractive, spherical spray of swordlike leaves on top. The trunk is covered
with a protective layer of dead leaves. Sometimes it is erect; sometimes it snakes along the
ground. Leaves are light blue-green to gray in color, waxy,
14-43" (35-110 cm) × ⅜-1" (1-3 cm) wide. Leaf edges have strong yellow teeth.
Flower spikes are 9½-20' (3-6 m) in height, with smaller greenish or straw-colored flowerheads that look like
fluffy catkins. The individual flowers are very small,
about ¹/₁₆" (2 mm). They are white on male plants and purple-pink on females.
Flowerhead close-up of Dasylirion wheeleri in cultivation at western edge of Las Vegas, Nevada. By Stan Shebs. 7/27/2005.
Edibility: Common sotol is not edible, but it
is used to create a somewhat tequila-like distilled spirit,
also known as sotol. Here is
a description of sotol with a distinct marketing spin.
Irish, Mary & Irish, Gary, Agaves, Yuccas and Related Plants: A Gardener’s Guide, Timber Press, 2000, p. 199
The Flowering Garden
Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and the Plants of the Sonoran Desert
as Compiled by the Master Gardeners of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension
The USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database
Dasylirion wheeleri description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.
© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.
5/25/2009 · Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, Arizona
7/29/2023 · Huachuca Mountains, Arizona · By John W. Kent ID is uncertain
About this map...