Southwest Yard & Garden – Fasciation Fascination
Question: What is ailing this sotol plant, and can you suggest a remedy? – J. Linnell, submitted via Bernalillo County Extension Agent Sara Moran
Answer: I see why you’re concerned about your sotol. In the center, where the 5- to 20-foot-tall flower stalk should be, there’s a squished-up clump of spiny stems that look like a pile of curly green lizard tails. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before, but it looks to me like it could be a type of fasciation.
Fasciation is an abnormal growth condition that is usually associated with hormonal imbalances within specific plant tissues—often, and in this case, in the floral stem. Like animals, plants produce hormones that act as mobile chemical signals and control all kinds of physiological processes throughout the entire life of the plant.