- Plant Type: Annual bulbous herb.
- Common Names: Desert Lily, Ajo Lily.
- Color: Pure white with a greenish-yellow band underneath.
- Flower Dimensions: 1.75 to 2.25 inches long and 2.5 to 3 inches wide.
- Flowering Seasons/Months: December to May.
- Deserts with Desert Lily: Desert areas of the Southwest of North America, Northwestern Mexico, Mojave, Sonoran.
Desert Lily Characteristics
Hesperocallis undulata is the sole species of the genus Hesperocallis. Desert Lily thrives in the hottest and driest regions of the Southwest.
- The stems of the Desert Lily are thick and rigid. It can reach up to 6 ft.
- Desert Lilies usually have unbranched stems. However, branches are found in robust plants.
- The leaves of the Desert lily are long, narrow, and wavy-edged. These leaves grow only around the stem’s base. As monocotsWhat is monocots?Angiosperm having only one cotyledon. Cotyledon is seed leaf; the first leaf (or set of leaves) to appear during the early development of a seedling., the leaves have parallel veins.
- The flowers of the Hespercallis undulata are showy, fragrant, and funnel-shaped. They are arranged in a raceme. Each flower possesses 6 petals. Long stamens with yellow anthers and white filaments are found at the center of each Desert lily flower.
Desert Lily Facts
- The bulb of the Desert lily plant is edible. They have the same taste as garlic. It is often boiled or baked. Others eat it fresh. The bulb, when eaten fresh, is slimy. The early Spanish colonists called the Desert lily flower “ajo“ because of its garlic taste.
- The genus Hesperocallis means “western beauty. ” It comes from the Greek word hesperos(“west“) and kallos(“beauty)“. The species Hesperocallis undulata was named and described by Asa Gray in 1867.
- The specific epithet endulata is given to the plant because it means “wavy margined“. This describes the wavy margins of the Desert lily leaves.
- There is difficulty in growing the Desert lily from seed after the first year. This resulted in the resistance to Desert lily’s attempts at commercialization.
- During dry years, the Desert lily does not appear above the ground. However, the species can survive many drought years in a row without producing growth above the ground.
Suggested Reading: All Types of Flowers
Cite This Page
BioExplorer.net. (2023, June 05). Desert Lily Flower. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/desert-lily/.
BioExplorer.net. "Desert Lily Flower" Bio Explorer, 05 June 2023, https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/desert-lily/.
BioExplorer.net. "Desert Lily Flower" Bio Explorer, June 05 2023. https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/flowers/desert-lily/.