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Hesperocallis undulata (Desert lily)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Hesperocallis undulata

Hesperocallis undulata A. Gray

Desert Lily, Desert-lily, Ajo Lily

Liliaceae (Lily Family)


USDA Symbol: heun2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A rosette of long, narrow, blue-green leaves with undulating margins appears a month or so before the tall flowering stem which bears large, white, trumpet-shaped flowers resembling Easter lilies.

Conspicuous and easily seen as one drives desert roads, it seems at first glance an Easter Lily out of place. The bulbs of this species, the only one in its genus, were once used by Indians for food.


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May


Native Distribution: S.w. AZ, s.e. CA & adjacent Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry, sandy flats; deserts, gentle slopes

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Pebbly or sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Spring flowers appear only after wet winters.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Hesperocallis undulata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Hesperocallis undulata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Hesperocallis undulata


Record Modified: 2023-02-14
Research By: TWC Staff

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