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Sotol, Trans-Pecos Sotol
Dasylirion heteracanthum


This sotol of rocky slopes and desert grasslands is reported to occur in S. Brewster and Presidio Counties, and into adjacent Mexico. It is probably related to D. leiophyllum, but differs from it in having mostly straight teeth, or with some curved forward and backward, on the leaf margins, whereas D. leiophyllums's marginal teeth are mostly curved backward. Often confused with yuccas, sotols have long slender leaves that arch gracefully from a central trunk, making a symmetrical, rounded form. The leaves have sharp spines or teeth along their margins, and are spoon-like at the base, giving the genus the common name of "desert spoon". Extremely tolerant of drought, heat, cold, and soil type, they must have well-drained soil and full sun to thrive. From May to August they have tall flowering stalks that add to their drama. Sotols are extrememly effective as accents in the landscapes, and even massed as large-scale groundcovers. Because of their wicked spines, they must be planted away from pedestrian areas unless they are used for security plantings.

Plant Habit or Use: medium shrub

Exposure: sun

Flower Color: white

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: 3-winged shell

Height: to 6 feet

Width: to 6 feet

Plant Character: evergreen

Heat Tolerance: very high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: adaptable

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8

Additional Comments:

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