Hesperocallis is a monotypic genus with the single species, Hesperocallis undulata. Originally considered to belong to Liliaceae, APG II included it in its own family, Hesperocallidaceae or in a broader Asparagaceae according to APG III. It is an erect perennial with onion odor from deep seated, tunicated bulbs, with glaucous leaves and straight stout stems. Found in sandy flats of creosote brush desert scrub in some of the most arid regions of North America (deserts of southeastern California, Baja California and Sonora, Mexico, and southwesten Arizona), it flowers only after infrequent rains. Flowers are large, white with a silver or green midstripe and are fragrant, especially at night. Because this “Desert Lily” is very beautiful, bulb fanciers would love to bring it into horticulture. The seeds germinate easily in winter when grown in a well-drained mix. It is important to keep the seedlings in growth and not allow them to go dormant. Once the seedlings go dormant, getting them to break dormancy is a challenge. Even a few who have gotten them to come into growth again have not had success in getting plants to bloom. The Spanish settlers called this plant Ajo, which means garlic. They got the idea when they dug up one of the bulbs (not a good thing to do) and tasted it.
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