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Calochortus, the Mariposa Lily

 Calochortus is a genus of bulbous plants that includes 70 species from British Columbia to Guatemala and east to Nebraska. Calochortus is the most widely dispersed genus of Liliaceae on the North American Pacific coast.[2] Of these, 28 species are endemic to California.[3] The genus Calochortus includes Mariposas (or Mariposa lilies) with open wedge-shaped petals, Globe lilies and Fairy lanterns with globe-shaped flowers, and Cat's ears and Star tulips with erect pointed petals. The word Calochortus is derived from Greek and means "beautiful grass".

Calochortus produce one or more flowers on a stem that arises from the bulb, generally in the spring or early summer. Unlike most other Liliaceae, Calochortus petals differ in size and color from their sepals.[2] Flowers can be white, yellow, pink, purple, bluish, or streaked. The insides of the petals are often highly hairy. These hairs, along with the nectaries, are often used in distinguishing species from each other.

Calochortus nuttallii, the Sego Lily, is the official state flower of Utah.


In 1998, T.B. Patterson conducted a phylogenetic analysis of the genus, dividing it into seven main clades. The study indicated highly localized speciation, so that different clades were strongly linked to specific habitats, as follows:[4]

    * Mariposas: dry grasslands and semideserts
    * Star-tulips: wet meadows
    * Cat’s ears: montane woodlands
    * Fairy lanterns: closed forests.

Calochortus amoenus


The bulbs of many species were eaten by Native Americans. They were also eaten by the Mormon settlers in Utah during the first winter or two because of crop failures during the first few years of settlement in the Great Salt Lake Valley.

Species List

This list comprises the species found in the United States. Some species are restricted to Mexico and Guatemala

    * Calochortus albus white globelily
    * Calochortus amabilis short lily
    * Calochortus ambiguus doubting Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus amoenus purple globelily
    * Calochortus apiculatus pointedtip Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus argillosus
    * Calochortus aureus golden Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus barbatus yellow globe lily
    * Calochortus bruneaunis Bruneau Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus catalinae Santa Catalina Mariposa lily -threatened by development
    * Calochortus clavatus clubhair Mariposa lily
          o Calochortus clavatus var. avius -rare,
          o Calochortus clavatus var. gracilis
          o Calochortus clavatus ssp. clavatus
          o Calochortus clavatus ssp. pallidus
          o Calochortus clavatus ssp. recurvifolius -rare
    * Calochortus coeruleus beavertail grass
    * Calochortus concolor goldenbowl Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus coxii Cox's Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus dunnii Dunn's Mariposa lily -rare
    * Calochortus elegans northwestern Mariposa lily; star tulip
          o Calochortus elegans var. elegans elegant Mariposa lily
          o Calochortus elegans var. nanus
          o Calochortus elegans var. oreophilus elegant Mariposa lily
          o Calochortus elegans var. selwayensis Selway Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus eurycarpus white Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus excavatus Inyo Mariposa lily -threatened by groundwater development
    * Calochortus flexuosus winding Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus greenei Green's Mariposa lily -rare
    * Calochortus gunnisonii Gunnison's Mariposa lily
          o Calochortus gunnisonii var. gunnisonii
          o Calochortus gunnisonii var. perpulcher
    * Calochortus howellii Howell's Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus indecorus Sexton Mountain Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus invenustus plain Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus kennedyi desert Mariposa lily
          o Calochortus kennedyi var. kennedyi
          o Calochortus kennedyi var. munzii
    * Calochortus leichtlinii smokey Mariposa
    * Calochortus longebarbatus longbeard Mariposa lily
          o Calochortus longebarbatus var. longebarbatus – threatened by grazing
          o Calochortus longebarbatus var. peckii
    * Calochortus luteus yellow Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus lyallii Lyall's Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus macrocarpus sagebrush Mariposa lily
          o Calochortus macrocarpus var. macrocarpus
          o Calochortus macrocarpus var. maculosus Nez Perce Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus minimus Sierran Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus monanthus Shasta River Mariposa lily -presumed extinct
    * Calochortus monophyllus yellow startulip
    * Calochortus nitidus broadfruit Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus nudus naked Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus nuttallii sego lily
    * Calochortus obispoensis San Luis Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus palmeri Palmer's Mariposa lily
          o Calochortus palmeri var. munzii Munz's Mariposa lily
          o Calochortus palmeri var. palmeri -rare
    * Calochortus panamintensisPanamint Mountain Mariposa lily -rare
    * Calochortus persistens Siskiyou Mariposa lily -rare
    * Calochortus plummerae Plummer's Mariposa lily -rare
    * Calochortus pulchellus Mount Diablo globelily
    * Calochortus raichei Cedars Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus simulans San Luis Obispo Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus splendens splendid Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus striatus alkali Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus subalpinus Alpine Pussy Ears, Cascade Mariposa Lily, Cat's Ear Lily
    * Calochortus superbus Superb Mariposa
    * Calochortus syntrophus Callahan's Mariposa Lily
    * Calochortus tiburonensis Tiburon Mariposa
    * Calochortus tolmiei Tolmie's Star-tulip, Hairy Pussy Ears
    * Calochortus umbellatus Oakland Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus umpquaensis Umpqua Mariposa lily
    * Calochortus uniflorus Mariposa 'Cupido'
    * Calochortus venustus butterfly Mariposa; white Mariposa
    * Calochortus vestae Vesta's Mariposa; Coast Range Mariposa
    * Calochortus weedii Weed's Mariposa
          o Calochortus weedii var. intermedius
          o Calochortus weedii var. vestus
          o Calochortus weedii var. weedii
    * Calochortus westonii Shirley Meadow Star-tulip, Weston's Mariposa

Calochortus luteus







Information derived from Wikipedia

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