Calochortus albus Douglas ex Benth.
White Fairy-lantern, Fairy-lantern, White Fairy Lantern
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Synonym(s): Calochortus albus var. rubellus
USDA Symbol: CAAL2
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Class: 1-3 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
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
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
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 albus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Calochortus albus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Calochortus albus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2008-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff