This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, tufted lily). Liliaceae. Stiff short-trunked desert plants, with crowded leaves and elevated panicles of small mostly white or whitish flowers.
Caudex or trunk erect and woody: leaves numerous, near the top of the trunk, long and rigid, usually prickly-margined: flowers dioecious, in dense racemes which are crowded into a narrow compound panicle; perianth campanulate, the segments toothed, distinct and nearly equal,« obtuse; stamens 6, exserted, style short; stigmas 3: fruit dry and indehiscent, 3-winged, 1-celled and 1-seeded. - About 15 species. Mex., to Texas and Ariz. Monograph in Proc. Amer. Phil. Soc. 50, p. 404 (1911).
Dasylirions are highly ornamental plants, well adapted for rockeries, for isolated specimens on lawns, decoration of conservatories, staircases and similar uses, and eminently suitable for terraces and vases, in the formal style of gardening. The leaves are in large number, inserted in a symmetrical way, so as to form a dome or globe-shaped, regular head, more or less serrulated, and in some species ending in a brushlike tuft of dried fibers. The tall panicles of numberless whitish green minute flowers are also a striking feature, standing far above the crest or crown of leaves. They are of the easiest possible culture, and will stand some degrees of frost, particularly if kept dry. Easily propagated from seeds and from cuttings of the branches when produced, as they do not sucker as a rule. These plants are inferior to Yucca filamentosa in hardiness, showiness and regularity of flowering, but they have an individuality of their own. They are especially esteemed in California, where the great flower-stalks, 8 to 10 feet high, give a strong impression of the desert. The individual flowers are not highly colored, but the spikes are several feet long. These and related plants have been the subject of recent revision.
Beaucarnea is now considered to be distinct, and a new genus, Calibanus, is erected by Rose on D. caespilosum. These new treatments are explained under Nolina.
A. Leaves fiat, prickly-margined.
b. Leaves usually green, splitting into fibers at tip, narrow.
Scheele. Leaves 1/2in. x 2-3 ft., glossy green: prickles yellow, turning brown: infloresence 9-15 ft. high: fruit elliptical, 3/16 X 5/16in. shallow-notched. S. Cent. Texas.
Zucc. (D. acrotrichum, Baker. D. gracile, Planch. Bonapartea gracilis, Otto. Roullnia gracilis, Brongn. Yucca gracilis, Otto. Y. acrotricha, Schiede. Barbacenia gracilis, Brongn. Littaea gracilis, Hort.). Leaves very narrow, 3/8in. x 2-3 ft., sometimes dull or pale: prickles pale yellow, brown at tip: infloresence 9-15 ft. high: fruit round-cordate, 3/16 X 1/4in shallow-notched. E. Cent. Mex. Abhandl. Akad. Muench. CI. 2, 3:1. B.M. 5030. F.S. 1448; 7, p. 10. G.C. III. 19, p. 204.
Zucc. (Yucca graminifolia, Zucc). Leaves 1/2in. x 3 ft., glossy green: prickles very short, yellowish white: fruit elliptical, 1/4 x 3/8in. E. Cent. Mex. Abhandl. Akad. Muench., CI. 2, 3:1. Allgem. Gartenz. 9:1.
bb. Leaves glaucous and dull.
c. The leaves not shredded at tip, narrow.
Hook. (D. glaucum, Carr. Bonapdrtea glauca, Hort.). Leaves 1/2in X 3-4 ft: prickles yellowish white: infloresence 12-18 ft. high: fruit elliptical, 1/4 X 3/8in. E. Cent. Mex. B.M. 5041. G.C. II. 13, p. 205; III. 40, p. 247. Rep. Mo. Bot. Gard. 14, p. 12.
cc. The leaves splitting into fibers at tip, wider.
Zucc. (D. laxiflorum, Baker. Yucca serratifolia, Schultes. Roulinia serratifblia, Brongn.). Leaves 1-1 1/2 in. x 2-3 ft., rough: prickles rather long, sometimes 3/4in. apart. S. E. Mex. Abhandl. Akad. Muench., CI. 2, 3:1.
Wheeled, Wats. With distinct short trunk: leaves nearly 1 in. x 2-3 ft., nearly smooth: prickles yellow, browning at tip: infloresence 9-15 ft. high: fruit round obovate, 1/4 x 5/16 in., openly notched. S. E. Ariz, and adjacent region. PI. World, 10, p. 254. Publ. Carnegie Inst. 99:58. Icones Sel. Hort. Thenensis, 225.
aa. Leaves 4-sided, neither prickly nor usually brush-tipped.
Lem. (D. quadranguldtum, Wats. D. juncifolium, Rehnelt). Trunk 3-6 ft. high: leaves very numerous, 1/4in. x 4-0 ft., dull green: infloresence 6-18 ft. high: fruit 5/16 x 3/8in., scarcely notched. E. Mex. B.M. 7749. G.F. 36, p. 280. Bull. Soc. Tosc. Ort. 9, p. 236; 35:6. Die Natur, 34, p. 340. R.H. 86, p. 66.
D. Hookeri, Lem.=Calibanus Hookeri, Trel. (see Nolina). -D. junceum, Zucc.=Nolina Hartwegiana. - D. longifolium, Zucc.=Nolinalongifolia. Wllliam Trelease.†