Flowering Now: Calochortus superbus (Superb mariposa lily) – California Native

A few months ago I purchased this Calochortus superbus bulb at at meeting the California Native Plant Society. Native plants aren’t my typical choice for garden plants, but I loved the look of these flowers when I saw them during the speaker’s slide show, so I picked up one for myself and one for a friend.

The bulbs had been growing rather slowly for the last few weeks, but a few days I noticed flower buds and yesterday one of these opened into this beautiful, if small, flower. Now that it has flowered (with a few more buds yet to open) it will be time to stop watering it so it can go through its normal cycle and fall dormant as the heat of the Summer arrives. It is important to NOT water natives during the Summer, as this duplicates their normal lifecycle and prevents them from rotting, which they seem to do very easily when given water out of season. I’ll place this pot aside once it has finished flowering and bring it out again when the Fall rains arrive.

Calochortus superbus

Calochortus superbus (Superb mariposa lily)

Calochortus superbus

Calochortus superbus (Superb mariposa lily)

From Wikipedia…

Calochortus superbus is a species of flowering plant in the lily family known by the common name superb mariposa lily. It is endemic to California, where it is a common member of the flora in several types of habitat statewide. It is a perennial herb growing up to 40 to 60 centimeters tall with a basal leaf up to 30 centimeters long which withers by flowering. The inflorescence is a loose cluster of 1 to 3 erect, bell-shaped flowers. Each flower has three sepals and three petals all up to 4 centimeters long and blotched with yellow at the bases. There is generally a darker spot within the yellow area, and the base color of the segments may be white to light purple or solid yellow. The fruit is an angled capsule 5 or 6 centimeters long. This plant resembles Calochortus luteus, a chief discriminant being the oval to crescent shaped nectary of C. luteus compared to the squarish nectary of C. superbus.[1]Wikipedia

More information on Calochortus superbus…

One Response to “Flowering Now: Calochortus superbus (Superb mariposa lily) – California Native”

  1. keri says:

    Oh, Doug, I’m envious. Beautiful native lily. Congratulations.

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