Sunday, February 7, 2010

Those Magnificent Mariposa Lilies

Love, love, love the mariposa lilies. Floral flutterbies incarnate...

Here are a few I have encountered in the wild:

5/25/03 Desert Mariposa Lily (Calochortus kennedyi). Teutonia Peak Trail, Cima Dome, East Mojave National Preserve, San Bernardino County, CA

7/7/05 Bruneau Mariposa Lily (Calochortus bruneanis). McGee Canyon Trail, Eastern Sierra, Inyo National Forest, Mono County, CA

6/5/05 Splendid Mariposa Lily (Calochortus splendens). Forest Service Road at end of Tenaja Road, Cleveland National Forest, Riverside/San Diego County line.

4/17/05 Splendid Mariposa Lily (Calochortus splendens). Via Volcano trailhead, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, Riverside County, CA

4/30/05 Catalina Mariposa Lily (Calochortus catalinae). Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area, Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara County, CA

4/3/05 Catalina Mariposa Lily (Calochortus catalinae). Grotto Trail, Circle X Ranch, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Ventura County, CA

5/7/05 Catalina Mariposa Lily (Calochortus catalinae). Pentachaeta Trail, Triunfo Creek Park, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Westlake Village, Los Angeles County, CA

7/5/05 Leichtlin's Mariposa Lily (Calochortus leichtlinii). Near Lower Twin Lakes campground, Toiyabe National Forest, Eastern Sierra, Mono County, CA

7/6/05 Leichtlin's Mariposa Lily (Calochortus leichtlinii). Mammoth Lakes Scenic Loop (Hwy 203), Inyo National Forest, Eastern Sierra, Mono County, CA

6/15/03 Plain Mariposa Lily (Calochortus invenustus). Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail, San Jacinto Mountains, San Bernardino National Forest, Riverside County, CA

4/30/05 White Fairy Lantern (Calochortus albus). Happy Canyon Road, Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area, Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara County, CA


  1. The Sego Lily, Calochortus nuttallii, is found in western Utah from the north to the south. It was a source of food for the Indians and also eaten by the Mormon pioneers when they first came into Utah. I have not been successful in growing it in my gardens.

  2. Wow- I didn't know that the bulbs are edible. Calochortus are definitely not easy to establish in the garden. But, in my limited experience, I've found it best to plant them in the fall in really well-draining soil and to make sure they get no water whatsoever during their summer dormancy period. I've managed to successfully grow several California species in my own garden in decomposed granite, but the main enemy in my neck of the woods seems to be those voracious bunnies and field mice.