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Desert Lily

Hesperocallis undulata

Hesperocallis undulata from slide image © by Michael Plagens

New leaves appear above ground by January in years with adequate moisture. They may grow in this vetegtative state for several years without blooming.

PERENNIAL HERB: Generally can only be seen in early to mid spring. Underground bulb remains dormant through hot and dry seasons, sometimes for years at a time, producing leaves and flowers only when desert rains finally soak the ground bringing favorable conditions.

LEAVES: Strap shaped, gray-green leaves are rather fleshy and the margins are wavy. The leaves are clustered at the soil surface.

RANGE: Southwestern Arizona, southeast California, northwest Mexico in areas with fairly deep sandy or loamy soil.

STEMS: The solitary flowering stalk may reach almost a meter tall.

fruit of desert lily, hesperocallis undulata FRUIT: Pods with three valve-sections.

FLOWERS: Three sepals and three petals alike, appearing as six white perianth segments. Borne on tall spikes with one to three opening each day.


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See also More Photos by Gena Zolotar.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010