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Androstephium breviflorum
Androstephium breviflorum (Sand Lily)
Themidaceae (Brodiaea Family)
formerly Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Semi-desert. Sand, canyons, openings. Spring.
McElmo Canyon, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 6, 2005.

One, two, or three long and narrow leaves precede the often much shorter flower stalk of Sand Lily.  Flower stalks do sometimes, however, elongate as the plant matures.  The white to green flowers with green to purple stripes are very easy to miss and so are the green seed capsules (see below).

"Andros" is Greek for "man" and "stephium" for "crown" both alluding to a rounded feature of the flower.  "Breviflorum" is Latin for "short flowers".

Androstephium breviflorum
Androstephium breviflorum (Sand Lily)
Themidaceae (Brodiaea Family)
formerly Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Semi-desert. Sand, canyons, openings. Spring.
McElmo Canyon, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 6, 2005.

Androstephium breviflorum
Androstephium breviflorum (Sand Lily)
Themidaceae (Brodiaea Family)
formerly Liliaceae (Lily Family)
 

Semi-desert. Sand, canyons, openings. Spring.
At the base of Shiprock, New Mexico, April 22 2010.

The exotic, three-lobed capsules containing the seeds, are as difficult to pick out of the background of the soils and rocks they grow in as are the small and inconspicuous flowers.  But when we focus on them in photographs, we train our brain to recognize the plants and make it much easier to find them next time in the field.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Androstephium breviflorum