Calochortus venustus Douglas ex Benth.
Butterfly mariposa lily, Square mariposa lily, White mariposa lily
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Synonym(s): Calochortus venustus var. carolii, Calochortus venustus var. purpurascens, Calochortus venustus var. sanguineus, Calochortus venustus var. sulphureus
USDA Symbol: CAVE3
This species has a greater color range than most Calochortus spp., but is most often white. Each petal has a dark red blotch, often surrounded by paler blotches. The stems of this bulbiferous perennial are branched and bear grass-like leaves. Flowers occur in groups of 1-3.
The Square Mariposa Lily is a member of the lily family (family Liliaceae). Lilies are mostly perennial herbs from rhizomes, bulbs, or corms. The family is extremely complex and botanists estimate 250 genera and 4,000-6,000 species. Many, including tulips and day lilies, are handsome ornamentals. Asparagus, Sarsaparilla, onions, and the medicinally useful Aloe are from the family. A few species are poisonous.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Class: 1-3 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Red , Pink , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
Native Distribution: S. & c. Sierra foothills & s. & c. Coast Ranges of CA
Native Habitat: Grasslands; hot foothill woodlands; 1000-8000 ft.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Description: Light, sandy soil; often decomposed granite
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. Needs protection from gophers and moles.
BenefitUse Food: Bulb 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 DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
BibliographyBibref 1218 - Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources (2006) Anderson, M. Kat
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Calochortus venustus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Calochortus venustus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Calochortus venustus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-03-03
Research By: TWC Staff