Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Plant profile: Dasylirion

On the right, under the red Cordyline
Latin name: Dasylirion wheeleri (pronounced "daz-ee-LEER-ee-on WHEE-ler-eye")
Common name: Desert Spoon, Sotol, Spoon Yucca
Originally from: Northern Mexico, in Chihuahua and Sonora and in the southwestern United States, in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, and also in New Mexico and Texas.
Blooms: A very tall, long spike emerges infrequently.
Light: Full sun!
Water: Drought tolerant and very tough
Drainage: Excellent
Height x width: 3' x 4'
USDA Zones: 6-11
Where to find in P. Garden: In the cactus wall, the middle back bed, and at PRG.

Here's a nice tough desert plant for the garden. I wouldn't call it cuddly, but it's not going to be bothered by deer or human invaders and it makes an impressively pointy pom-pom for the totally dusty dry garden.

This plant sits around on rocky hillsides and grasslands from 3,000 to 6,000 feet in southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico west Texas and south into Sonora Mexico. The alcoholic drink sotol, the northern cousin to tequila and mezcal, is made from the fermented inner cores of the desert spoon. It is the state drink of the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Durango, and Coahuila.

Used for food and fiber, its flower stalk can be used as a "fire plow" - for starting fires.

The Tarahumara and Pima Bajo peoples of the Sierra Madre Occidental of Chihuahua weave baskets from the leaves after they strip off the spines from the leaf margins, which seems like a lot of work. They also make large artificial flowers as holiday decorations using the leaf bases.

We use them to repel all boarders: the leaves have spines facing opposite directions along their length that will just rip your skin if you dare reach in there to pull a weed from between the leaves.

The color of the flower determinate the gender of the plant, being mostly white colored for males and purple-pink for females. We've had one flower at PG and I think it was white.

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