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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Agavaceae

6. Hesperaloe Engelmann, Botany (Fortieth Parallel). 497. 1871.

[Greek hesperos, western, and aloe, a kind of plant]

R. Laurie Robbins

Plants perennial, cespitose, acaulescent, semisucculent, primarily short- to long-rhizomatous. Leaves in basal rosettes; blade linear, thick and striate-ridged abaxially, margins with threadlike, detaching filaments, apex frayed or with hard spine. Inflorescences paniculate [racemose], loose, 3–8-branched. Flowers bisexual; perianth narrowly tubular to broadly campanulate; tepals 6; stamens 6, inserted on receptacle or at tepal bases, included; filaments glabrous; anthers sagittate, with septal nectaries; receptacle fleshy; ovary superior; style slender, barely exceeding tepals. Fruits capsular, ovoid, dehiscence septicidal. Seeds many, black, flattened. x = 30.

Species 5 (2 in the flora): arid regions of Texas and Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sonora).

Hesperaloe parviflora, and to a much lesser extent H. funifera, are cultivated in the semiarid and arid Southwest. The original distribution of H. parviflora is likely much obscured because of a long history of roadside and ornamental plantings throughout the area.


Engard, R. G. 1980. Hesperaloe: Potential for arid lands. In: Centro de Investigación en Química Aplicada. 1970. Yucca. Saltillo. Pp. 115–123. Starr. G. 1995. Hesperaloe: Aloes of the West. Desert Pl. 11(4): 3–8. Starr, G. 1997. A revision of the genus Hesperaloe (Agavaceae). Madroño 44: 282–296.

1 Flowers green, tinged with purple, broadly campanulate; leaf blade yellowish green, 1–2 m × 2–5 cm.   1 Hesperaloe funifera
+ Flowers rosy red to salmon, narrowly tubular; leaf blade dark green, 1–1.25 m × 2.5 cm.   2 Hesperaloe parviflora

Lower Taxa


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