Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dasylirion Wheeleri--Desert Spoon

I think if I had named this plant, it would be called "Flower Worms." Just look at the shapes those flower stalks take as they emerge from the main stem! Looks fun up close. From a distance, the pale yellow flowers are not that impressive. There were so many bees on this plant when I snapped the pic at the UC Botanical Garden! All honey bees, as far as I could tell.

So this plant is not called "flower worms," it is called Desert Spoon because the base of the leaves are spoon shaped. They are quite rough and stiff, so I think no one would actually want to use the leaves as spoons. I have read that they are used in dried arrangements, however. The other common name is "Sotol" after the alcoholic drink made from the center core after the leaves are removed. It takes one plant 15 years to mature, and then only one bottle of sotol can be made from it. Very slow production. That center core can also be baked and eaten. Native Americans used the leaves to make mats, baskets and thatching. An imposing plant with many human uses.

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