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Hesperocallis undulata.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Hesperocallis
Species: H. undulata
Binomial name
Hesperocallis undulata
A.Gray, 1868
BLM Desert Lily Preserve near Desert Center, California

Hesperocallis is a genus of flowering plants that includes a single species, Hesperocallis undulata, known as the desert lily or ajo lily.

It is found in the desert areas of southwestern North America, in Northwestern Mexico, California, and Arizona. The plant grows in Mojave Desert and Sonoran Desert habitats.


In the APG III system, adopted here, Hesperocallis is placed in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae, since recent molecular systematic studies (Pires et al. 2004) have confirmed a close relationship with Agave.[1] Other classifications have included the species in its own family, Hemerocallidaceae, or placed it in the Hostaceae (Funkiaceae); both families are submerged into the Agavoideae in the APG III system.[2] As with many of the 'lilioid monocots', prior to the use of molecular evidence in classification, it was placed in the Liliaceae.


The bulbs of the desert lily were eaten by native peoples.[3]


  1. ^ Stevens, P.F., Angiosperm Phylogeny Website: Asparagales: Agavoideae 
  2. ^ Chase, M.W.; Reveal, J.L. & Fay, M.F. (2009), "A subfamilial classification for the expanded asparagalean families Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae", Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 161 (2): 132–136, doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00999.x 
  3. ^ American Indian Ethnobotany Database: Hesperocallis undulata
  • Pires, J. C., I. J. Maureira, J. P. Rebman, G. A. Salazar, L. I. Cabrera, M. F. Fay, and M. W. Chase. 2004. Molecular data confirm the phylogenetic placement of the enigmatic Hesperocallis (Hesperocallidaceae) with Agave. Madroño 51: 307–311.
  • NCBI Taxonomy Browser

External links[edit]