Desert Lily

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Plantae Asparagales Asparagaceae Hesperocallis Hesperocallis undulata

Desert Lily

  • 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 Flower

Desert Lily Characteristics

Desert Lily

Hesperocallis undulata is the sole species of the genus Hesperocallis. Desert Lily thrives in the hottest and driest regions of the Southwest.

Desert Lily Facts

Hesperocallis Undulata

  • The bulb of the Desert lily[1] plant is edible. They have the same taste as garlic. It is often boiled or baked.[2] Others eat it fresh. The bulb, when eaten fresh, is slimy. The early Spanish colonists called the Desert lily flower “ajo[3] 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

APA7MLA8Chicago (2024, April 13). Desert Lily Flower. Bio Explorer. "Desert Lily Flower" Bio Explorer, 13 April 2024, "Desert Lily Flower" Bio Explorer, April 13 2024.
Key References
  • [1]“15 best flowers and plants in the desert – The Mighty Earth”. Accessed September 10, 2022. Link.
  • [2]“Hesperocallis undulata, Desert Lily, Fact Sheet”. Accessed September 10, 2022. Link.
  • [3]“SEINet Portal Network – Hesperocallis undulata”. Accessed September 10, 2022. Link.


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