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Pisapia, Robert J.
Calochortus albus Douglas ex Benth.
White fairy-lantern, Fairy-lantern, White fairy lantern
Synonym(s): Calochortus albus var. rubellus
USDA Symbol: CAAL2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
From corms, the slender, branched stems of this woodland perennial reach 8-30 in. in height. Leaves are grass-like. Petals of the nodding,white flowers (those from the coast ranges are often tinged with pink and green) are overlapped to form a closed globe. Egg-shaped, white flowers hanging in an open branched cluster. Seed pods are broad, flat and pendent.
The several Calochortus species with egg-shaped flowers are generally called globe lilies, whereas those with more open flowers are known as mariposa lilies and star tulips. Other common names of this species include White Fairy Lantern, Snowdrops, Indian Bells, and Satin Bells. Rose Globe Lily (C. amoenus), with deep pink flowers, grows on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada in Californias San Joaquin Valley.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: CA Native Distribution:
N. Sierra foothills & s. Coast Ranges Native Habitat:
Shaded, rocky woods or brush, below 5000 ft.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry Soil Description:
Well-drained, rocky soils. Conditions Comments:
Var. rubellus, native
from the Santa Cruz to Santa Lucia Mts., has rosy sepals
and deep pink petals. All Calochortus spp. are extremely difficult in cultivation. Flowering bulbs must be raised from seed for any success and bulbs must be kept completely dry from mid-summer to late fall. Needs protection from gophers and moles.
BenefitUse Wildlife: All species are preferred browse.
Use Food: Bulbs consumed by indigenous peoples.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Plant seed in late autumn in pots, flats or outdoor seed beds. Corms reach maturity in 3-5 years.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: No treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2008-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff