Great Desert Spoon


Dasylirion acrotrichum – Great Desert Spoon

Dasylirion acrotrichum (Great Desert Spoon) is an exotic, looking Yucca like, evergreen shrub. The foliage is firm, narrow bladed leaves…

Dasylirion wheeleri

  • Drought-tolerant
  • Easy to care for with low water requirements
  • Medium growth rate
  • Serrated silver-grey foliage that can reach up to 6-feet wide and up to 6-feet high
  • When the flower blooms, expect butterflies to flock around the flower

This drought-tolerant, bushy Dasylirion wheeleri, also known as the Desert Spoon plant, offers a striking balance of beauty and strength. Easy to care for with low water requirements, Desert Spoon plants are an ideal addition to any Southwestern Landscape, especially in areas with very little rainfall and lots of sun. While its origins include northern Mexico, these bushy, drought tolerant plants thrive in both desert and tropical landscapes. Dasylirion wheeleri is an evergreen and succulent plant, preferring well-drained and dry soil, making it a popular accent plant and an attractive and friendly addition to yards with a swimming pool or patios.

As much as it loves the sun, it can also tolerate some shade, so feel free to plant and blend this Dasylirion wheeleri with other desert plants and palms. Expect a medium growth rate with strikingly beautiful, serrated silver-grey foliage that can reach up to 6-feet wide and up to 6-feet high. This heat and drought tolerant plant develops stout looking trunks topped by the rounded rosette of silver leaves. Over time, some specimens may even grow multiple trunks. During the summer, an attractive, up to 10-foot high tan-colored bloom may make an appearance, creating a look that can soften any harsh environment. When the flower blooms, expect butterflies to flock around the flower and your garden.

It's easy to see why the Desert Spoon is one of the most popular drought-tolerant plants.

Little maintenance required. Many people choose to leave dead leaves in place for its shaggy look around the trunk. With some care, the shaggy leaves can be removed to give the Dasylirion wheeleri trunk a pineapple like appearance, though it is not necessary. With its low water needs, as well as heat and drought tolerance, this Desert Spoon plant is a carefree plant ready to be planted on your dazzling xeriscape landscape design or garden.

Dasylirion is a compound word from the Greek, literally meaning “dense” or “shaggy” + “lily”. The Latin specific epithet wheeleri refers to the American surveyor and plant collector George Montague Wheeler (1842-1905). [1]

Dasylirion wheeleri is a moderate to slow-growing evergreen shrub with a single unbranched trunk up to 40 cm (16 in) thick growing to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) tall, though often recumbent on the ground. The leaf blade is slender, 35–100 cm long, gray-green, with a toothed margin. The leaves radiate from the center of the plant's apex in all directions (spherical).

The flowering stem grows above the foliage, to a height of 5 m (16 ft) tall, and 3 cm in diameter. The stem is topped by a long plume of straw-colored small flowers about 2.5 cm long with six tepals. The color of the flower determinate the gender of the plant, being mostly white colored for males and purple-pink for females. The fruit is an oval dry capsule 5–8 mm long, containing a single seed.

D. wheeleri is grown as an ornamental plant, valued in xeriscaping. As it does not tolerate extended frosts, in temperate regions it is usually grown under glass. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. [2] [3]

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.

It was also used by the natives of the region for food and fiber. Its flower stalk can be used as a fire plow. [4]

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. They also employ the expanded leaf bases in making large artificial flowers as holiday decorations. [5] [6]

Dasylirion Wheeleri Care: Growing Common Sotol

Dasylirion is a small genus consisting of 18 different semi-succulent species of plants. It comes under the family Asparagaceae. These plants are found along dry washes, arid lands and on rocky hillsides where the soil is porous and fast draining.

Dasylirion wheeleri is one of the species in this genus. It’s native to the arid lands of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. It’s a slow to moderate growing perennial shrub having a single trunk that has no branches. It’s upright sword-shaped leaves look stunning. There is an inward curvature at the leaf bases giving them their common name, desert spoon. The leaf blades are grayish-green in color. They are long, slender and have toothed margins.

Even though this plant looks ferocious upon first sight, you can tame it and use it to add an elegant effect to your gardens. Dasylirion wheeleri looks amazing as part of a desert-themed landscape or a xeriscape garden.

In this article, we will be giving you a complete roundup of everything you need to know to grow and care for this attractive evergreen succulent.

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