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Dasylirion wheeleri – Desert Spoon

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Scientific Name

Dasylirion wheeleri S.Watson ex Rothr.

Common Names

Desert Spoon, Spoon Yucca, Spoon Flower, Common Sotol, Blue Sotol, Grey Desert Spoon

Synonyms

Dasylirion wheeleri var. wheeleri

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Genus: Dasylirion

Description

Dasylirion wheeleri is an evergreen, long-lived plant with long, gray, strap-shaped, serrated leaves on a stout, short trunk that can rise up to 6 feet (1.8 m) and the spread can be about the same. The leaves are up to 3 feet (90 cm) long, narrow, blue-gray, with sharp, serrated margins and a spoon-shaped base that gives the plant one of its common name. These leaf bases remain on the trunk giving it a rough appearance. Flowering occurs only every few years with tiny flowers (this is a dioecious plant bearing flowers of one sex or the other) on stout spikes up to 15 feet (4.5 m) tall from the center of the leaf rosette in early summer. The color of the flower determinate the gender of the plant, being mostly white colored for males and purple-pink for females. After flowering the rosette branches at the base of the inflorescence to replace the flowering rosette and enabling the stem to continue to grow on.

Dasylirion wheeleri - Desert Spoon

Photo via westerncactus.com

How to Grow and Care

Dasylirions are slow growing, carefree and durable, drought tolerant plant. However, they grow faster if watered well (don’t water the crown, though they rot easily). In the garden they should be placed in a sunny, well-drained area with additional summer water in dry climates.

These make great specimen plants for xeriscape gardens and blend well in either tropical or arid gardens. Small plants are relatively inexpensive, but larger ones are a fortune. These make excellent potted specimens, and their symmetrical form provides a striking focal point.

They thrive best in full sun, but can be grown with some shade and humidity. Plant in very fast draining soil and provide little or no water in winter. Treat like a succulent. Best where winter temperatures stay above 50°F (10°C), but can take some periods of frost. Plants in containers can be moved inside during longer cold spells… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Dasylirion

Origin

Native to arid environments of 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.

Links

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