Plants annuals or short-lived perennials; root crowns thickened with many fibrous roots. Stems branched or unbranched, 20-70 cm. Leaves 5-35 cm × 2-4 mm; blade cylindrical or slightly flattened adaxially, hollow, glabrous except on margins. Inflorescences simple racemes to open panicles with ascending branches, 15-70 cm; bracts white, 4-7 mm. Flowers diurnal, closing in evening and during cloudy weather; tepals white to pale pink, oblong, obtuse, 5-12 × 2-3 mm, vein dark pink or brown; longest stamens equaling style. Capsules 5-7 mm, transversely wrinkled. Seeds 3-4 mm, rugose. 2n = 28, 56.
Flowering late winter--spring. Roadsides, fields, waste places; 0--1400 m; introduced; Calif., N.Mex., Tex.; sw Europe; sw Asia; n Africa; widely naturalized (Australia, Mexico, New Zealand); expected elsewhere.
Asphodelus fistulosus has become a noxious weed in California and in other places with Mediterranean climates worldwide.