Butterfly mariposa lily is an erect, usually
branched, bulbiferous perennial growing to about 2' tall. Its
basal leaves are few, 4"-8" long, narrow, and usually withering.
The upper leaves are reduced. There are one to three erect
flowers with a perianth which is campanulate to cup-shaped, three green
sepals with recurved tips, and a corolla of three obovate and somewhat
clawed petals that are white, yellow, purple or dark red. Each petal
has a pale reddish spot toward the apex, and a second, darker red spot
below which is yellow-margined and set in a red-lined blotch that covers
the basal part of the petal. That portion of the petal also contains
longish scattered hairs. The gland is ± square in outline
and is not depressed. There are six stamens with anthers that
are up to 3" long and three united carpels forming a single pistil.
The fruit is an erect, linear capsule, > 2" long. Butterfly
mariposa lily is not especially common but may be found in light or
sandy soils within an altitudinal range of 1000' to 8000' in valley
grassland, foothill woodland, and yellow pine forest, blooming from
April to July. It does not extend much further south than Los
Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains. It is a spectacularly beautiful
species, and highly variable in color and markings. These pictures
were taken in Towsley Canyon Park in the Santa Clarita Woodlands.
Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Calochortus
Pronunciation: kal-o-KOR-tus ven-OOS-tus.
Click here for Botanical