Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Hesperocallis undulata

Higher Taxonomy
Family: AgavaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Perennial herb, shrub, tree, fibrous succulent or not, from bulbs or rhizomes. Stem: above ground or not, branched or not. Leaf: simple, deciduous or not, basal or in terminal rosettes, generally sessile, linear, lanceolate, oblanceolate or ovate, fibrous or not, thin and flexible or thick and rigid or succulent; margin entire, fine-serrate, dentate, or with filaments, tips rigid or flexible, with a spine or not. Flower: bisexual; perianth parts 6, in 2 petal-like whorls, free or +- fused; stamens 6, +- fused to perianth, filaments often wide, succulent; ovary superior or inferior, chambers 3, style 1 (thick, poorly defined), stigma head-like or 3-lobed. Fruit: capsule, indehiscent, loculicidal, or septicidal. Seed: few to many, +- flat or ovoid, generally black.
Genera In Family: 24 genera, 637 species: worldwide.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dale W. McNeal, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Dale W. McNeal, Thomas J. Rosatti, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: HesperocallisView Description 

Common Name: DESERT LILY

Etymology: (Greek: western beauty)
Reference: Utech 2002 FNANM 26:221; Bogler et al. 2006 Aliso 22:313--328
Hesperocallis undulata A. Gray
Habit: Perennial herb; bulb 4--6 cm, ovoid, deep. Stem: 30--180 cm, generally simple. Leaf: mostly basal (cauline reduced), 20--50 cm, 8--15 mm wide, blue-green; margins wavy, white. Inflorescence: raceme; bracts conspicuous, +- ovate, papery; pedicels +- 1 cm. Flower: jointed to pedicel, 4.5--6 cm, funnel-shaped; perianth parts 6, fused below, petal-like, white with silver-green midstripe especially abaxially, lobes 3--4 cm, +- oblanceolate, spreading; stamens 6, attached to perianth; ovary superior, chambers 3, style slender, stigma +- 3-lobed. Fruit: 12--16 mm, 3-lobed, loculicidal. Seed: +- 5 mm, flat, black. Chromosomes: n=24.
Ecology: Sandy flats; Elevation: < 800 m. Bioregional Distribution: D (exc DMtns); Distribution Outside California: western Arizona. Flowering Time: Feb--May
Jepson eFlora Author: Dale W. McNeal
Reference: Utech 2002 FNANM 26:221; Bogler et al. 2006 Aliso 22:313--328
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Hesperocallis undulatabotanical illustration including Hesperocallis undulata

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Citation for this treatment: Dale W. McNeal 2012, Hesperocallis undulata, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 14, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 14, 2024.

Hesperocallis undulata
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©2022 California Academy of Sciences
Hesperocallis undulata
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©2010 Thomas Stoughton
Hesperocallis undulata
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©2004 James M. Andre
Hesperocallis undulata
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©2017 Neal Kramer
Hesperocallis undulata
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©2016 Keir Morse

More photos of Hesperocallis undulata
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Hesperocallis undulata:
D (exc DMtns)
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
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map of distribution 1

(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurrence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.

View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month Flowering-Fruiting Monthly Counts

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).