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Calochortus uniflorus (Monterey mariposa lily)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Calochortus uniflorus

Calochortus uniflorus Hook. & Arn.

Monterey Mariposa Lily, Monterey Mariposa-lily, Meadow Star Tulip

Liliaceae (Lily Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A small, dainty plant, the flowering stem barely reaching above the surface of the ground. Leaves are grass-like, and the upright flowers are of a shallow bowl shape. Petals are lilac, often with a purple spot at the base. Seed pods are broad and pendant.

As one of the dwarf Calochortus meadow species, Monterey Mariposa Lily is more amenable to cultivation than other species of the genus. It needs protection from gophers and moles.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun


Native Distribution: Coast Ranges from Monterey to Mendacino Cos.; s.w. OR
Native Habitat: Temporarily wet prairie and meadows below 500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Temporarily wet, but well-drained, alkaline soils.
Conditions Comments: Needs protection from gophers and moles. As one of the dwarf Calochortus meadow species, meadow star tulip is more amenable to cultivation than other species of the genus.


Use Food: Bulb consumed by indigenous peoples.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Sow fresh seed in fall in a mix of leaf mold, loam and sand. Seed pans should be plunged in the cold frame, covered to keep out excessive moisture, and left to the end of the second year. Young bulbs can then be planted outdoors.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Calochortus uniflorus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Calochortus uniflorus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Calochortus uniflorus


Record Modified: 2008-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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