Dasylirion wheeleri. DESERT SPOON. Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico (Chihuahua and Sonora)
AGAVACEAE (Agave family)
Dasylirion is currently placed in the family Rusacaceae. It appears as a mass of impenetrable, 3-foot, swordlike leaves tapering from half an inch to zero with wicked thorns every quarter inch. Each leaf terminates in a stem-clasping spoon. A specimen growing in the inner southwest island in the Inner Quad may be an original planting from 1890 and is likely the plant shown as Bonapartea of the earliest plant list of the Quad circles (undated). Another scenario is that it was first transplanted from the Arizona Graden to "Sequoia Gardens" on Serra St. and later moved into the Inner Quad.
Illustrations (links open new windows): galleryAdditions/Revisions: This may be the same plant reported by Albert Wilson as D. glaucophyllum (syn. D. glauca) growing in the old Sequoia Gardens. He estimated it to be about 25 years old in 1930 or so with a five-foot trunk, about its maximun height. D. glaucophyllum, another Mexican Dasylirion in cultivation, also has blue-green leaves, and perhaps slighly narrower than D. wheeleri. The trunk can be erect or procumbent, the leaves .9-3 cm. wide. In ours, the leaves at their widest are about 15 mm. (Albert Wilson (1938) Distintive Trees, Shrubs, and Vines in the Gardens of the San Francisco Peninsula.)
Name derivation, genus | species From the Greek dasys (thick) and lirion (lily), referring to the thick stems and lily-like flowers | Named for George Montague Wheeler, 19th century surveyor and director of U.S. Army surveys of the Western U.S.; glaucophyllum: Blue or greyish/bluish leaves; having bloom on the leaves (etymologies courtesy of The Plants Database)Related material: Inner Quad Tree Map