We’ll sneak in one more species from California before turning our attention to plants from other places in the world for a little while. Today’s photograph is courtesy of Ron Long. Ron and I had a good conversation about our recent (separate) travels a couple days ago, after he completed his presentation on Namaqualand to the UBC Friends of the Garden. He also made a trip to California this year, but he went earlier and visited the deserts, particularly Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Thanks for sharing, Ron!
Commonly known as desert lily, Hesperocallis undulata was traditionally placed in the lily family. With molecular techniques, though, there is strong evidence for it to be placed in the agave family (via a circuitous route that saw it jump from the lily family to the daylily family to its own family to the asparagus family). Wikipedia has a summary of its taxonomic placement, along with a reference to the 2004 paper suggesting placement in the Agavaceae.
The Flora of North America entry for Hesperocallis undulata lists its distribution as California, Arizona and Nevada, where it grows in “dry, sandy flats to rocky hills of creosote bush scrub in [the] Mojave and Sonoran deserts”. Desert lily is also noted as a food plant by the Plants for a Future database.
The epithet undulata, as you might expect, refers to the wave-formed leaf margins of the species, a feature prominently shown in many of the photographs at CalPhotos.
I have yet to see this plant in person, but I certainly look forward to the day!