Sagebrush Mariposa Lily (Calochortus macrocarpus)

Sagebrush Mariposa Lily

Sagebrush Mariposa Lily

Location: Mount Bisbee (by Trout Lake) Washington

Information: This is a tiny little plant but striking in many aspects. Though edible (usually the bulbs were collected in April or May before the flowering period which is late June and August) it’s not recommended to eat this lily. Usually wildflowers that will not grow in your own garden, like some of the paintbrushes and some lilies, it’s never recommended to eat them in the wild as it threatens future generations from enjoying them. Our version of the tiger lily and this mariposa lily is also among these kinds of flowers and is only recommended as a matter of survival. As a means of survival the plant can also be eaten. It’s rumored that the bulbs are very sweet and were roasted or eaten raw by both settlers in this area as well as Indian tribes. The distinct qualities of this little flower has made lily lovers attempt many times to grow it in their own gardens with no real success. Once again nature has offered us a unique beautiful flower that it seems “she” can only produce.

Identification: The primary means of id’ing this particular lily is seen easiest in the second shot. The Sagebrush Mariposa Lily is defined by the green stripes up the backside of the petals; this feature does not exist on any other lilies. The second means is the sepals (the long thin “petals” between the three primary petals) are much longer than the three petals.

USDA Plant Database
E-Flora on Sagebrush Mariposa Lily


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