Hesperaloe (Hesperaloe funifera)
is a potential crop producing unusually long, thin fibers that can be used to
produce paper with exceptional physical properties. The plant is a long-lived
perennial that grows natively in the Chihuahuan Desert region of northern Mexico
and is targeted as a new crop for the southwestern United States.
University of Arizona is the only institution working on the development of
Hesperaloe as a crop. Research on Hesperaloe has been conducted at the Maricopa
Agricultural Center since 1995 to develop cultural practices to facilitate
eventual cultivation. This research has included studies of irrigation
management practices, stand establishment methods, planting dates, mechanical
and chemical weed control, nitrogen fertilization and mechanical harvesting.