Yet another love affair with an Arizona native plant. It could change next week and I’ll be in love with a new native plant, but listen, I got my first legitimate horticulture gig in the spring of 1980 (legitimate as in not pot, but landscape plants) at a wholesale nursery northwest of Tucson. At that wonderful nursery that gave a job to a “desperate for a job” fellow we grew the plant called desert spoon or Dasylirion wheeleri. Fast forward 40 or more years and I was working a few days a week for a large wholesale grower out in Cochise County, AZ where we grew thousands of desert spoons. I think it’s one of the hardest working native plants in southwestern horticulture and landscapes.
The genus name Dasylirion is a combination of two Greek words and translates to “a coarse, shaggy or rough (your choice!) lily.” In my excitement while jabbering I said “white” lily…but no just lily. Still a fairly good band name though; The Coarse Lilies. I think the common name desert spoon comes from the fact that the base of a sharp toothy leaf, where it attaches to the trunk, looks like a spoon when dry. Maybe if you’re on drugs. I dunno, I may be making that up too.
I mentioned Dasylirion leiophyllum in southwest NM and into west Texas, but neglected to give a shout out to Dasylirion texanum. And oh boy, the species of Dasylirion increase when you head south into Mexico. Yay!
The photos are mine and taken in the Dos Cabezas Mountains.