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Flaigg, Norman G.
Calochortus kennedyi Porter
Desert mariposa lily, Desert mariposa, Red mariposa-lily, Flame mariposa
USDA Symbol: CAKE
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
The flowering stems of this bulbous perennial are up to 8 in. long and sometimes twisted. Leaves are waxy and grass-like. During years when temperature and rainfall is right, silky, deep-orange to yellow-orange, three-petaled flowers appear. In an umbel-like cluster on top of short stems bloom 1-6 handsome bell-shaped, vermilion, orange, or yellow flowers. Each flower has a large, dark spot at the base.
One of the most brilliant of the mariposa lilies. In California, vermilion flowers are most frequent; orange flowers are more common eastward. The yellow phase is found throughout the range, especially at higher elevations.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Orange
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
AZ , CA , NV , UT Native Distribution:
AZ, NV, Kane Co., UT, s. CA & adjacent Mex. Native Habitat:
Open or brushy flats; rocky slopes; deserts; 2000-4500 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, heavy or rocky, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: 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. Bulbs will need protection from gophers and moles.
Desert landscape Use Food: Bulb
consumed by indigenous peoples. Conspicuous Flowers:
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:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CA
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Record Modified: 2008-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff