Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several tall woody plants of the genus Dasylirion of the southwest United States and adjacent Mexico, having prickly-margined leaves and a large panicle of whitish unisexual flowers.
  • n. An alcoholic beverage produced from the trunks of these plants.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several species of North American desert plants of the genus Dasylirion, of the agave family.
  • n. A distilled spirit made from the sap of some of these plants, especially Dasylirion wheeleri.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In the southern United States and Mexico a name given to several species of yucca-like plants belonging to the genus Dasylirion, sometimes called bear-grass.

Etymologies

Perhaps from Spanish soto, thicket, woods, from Latin saltus, narrow pass, woodland.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Mexican Spanish sotol, from Classical Nahuatl zōtolin ("palm tree"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The main pollinators of the agave plants from which sotol is distilled are thought to be long-nosed bats and other nectar eating bat species.

    Lloyd Mexico Economic Report January 2004

  • Vegetation includes mostly desert shrubs, such as sotol, lechuguilla, yucca, ocotillo, lotebush, tarbush, and pricklypear, with a sparse intervening cover of black grama and other grasses.

    Ecoregions of Texas (EPA)

  • Aside from the many cactus species in the Chihuahuan Desert Region, one may observe other interesting succulents, like sotol, agaves (known as maguey in Mexico), yuccas (Yucca spp.), and others.

    Wildflower hunting in Durango

  • Other arid-land shrubs become more common: lotebush, lechuguilla, sotol, and redberry juniper.

    Ecoregions of Texas (EPA)

  • Yucca, sotol, lechuguilla, ocotillo, and cacti now dominate the rocky slopes below 5500 feet.

    Ecoregions of Texas (EPA)

  • Plateau live oak woodland is eventually restricted to north and east facing slopes and floodplains, and dry slopes are covered with open shrublands of juniper, sumac, sotol, acacia, honey mesquite, and ceniza.

    Ecoregions of Texas (EPA)

  • Species range from drought-resistant shrubs such as creosote bush Larrea tridentata and prickly pear Opuntia spp., sotol Dasilyrion wheeleri and Agave spp. to walnut Juglans spp., hackberry Celtis spp., oak Quercus spp. and soapberry trees Sapindus spp. in the richer soil of the canyons.

    Carlsbad Caverns National Park, United States

  • Near the Sierra Madre Oriental, the scrub becomes a strict combination of Agave victoria-reginae with lechuguilla, guapilla (Hechtia glomerata), barreta (Helietta parviflora), sotol (Dasylirion sp.) and a well-developed herbaceous stratum composed of gramineae, leguminosae and cacti.

    Chihuahuan desert

  • Ian also reviews tequila's sister drink, mezcal, as well as its ancestor, pulque, with some asides on other regional Mexican drinks like bacanora and sotol.

    Cheers: La Vida en un Sorbo

  • From now on, genuine sotol can be produced only within a limited geographical area: the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila.

    Lloyd Mexico Economic Report January 2004

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