S. Watson ex Rothrock
Dasylirion wheeleri (desert spoon, spoon flower, or common sotol) is a flowering plant 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.
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 plants. The fruit is an oval dry capsule 5-8 mm long, containing a single seed.
Cultivation and uses
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.