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Calochortus gunnisonii

Phonetic Spelling
kal-uh-KOR-tus gun-nis-SON-ee-eye
Description

Gunnison's Mariposa is a species of purple or white flowering lily bulb native to western U.S.A. in the Rocky Mountains and Black Hills. This showy wildflower makes its home to dry meadows, sagebrush, and woodlands at fairly high elevations (3280-10,827 ft). The showy flowers are either white or purple and are quite exotic looking. Prefers a sunny location in moist to dry loams and rocky soils.  

"Calochortus", from the Greek "kalos", means "beautiful", and "chortos" means "grass", refers to its grass-like green leaves. "Mariposa" is Spanish for "butterfly" 

This plant is rare and hard to find and will most likely not do well in the hot humid climate of the SE.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • var perpulcher
    pale yellow petals
var perpulcher
Tags:
#bulb#showy flowers#white flowers#purple flowers#lily#summer flowers#edible roots#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical#edible bulbs#western native
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • var perpulcher
    pale yellow petals
var perpulcher
Tags:
#bulb#showy flowers#white flowers#purple flowers#lily#summer flowers#edible roots#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical#edible bulbs#western native
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Calochortus
    Species:
    gunnisonii
    Family:
    Marantaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used as a food source by Native Americans and early settlers
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Western U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    AZ , CO , MT , NE , NM , SD , UT , WY
    Edibility:
    The roots are sweet and edible
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Three-angled capsules with flat seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Variegated
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    1-4 exotic 2 inch purple to white cup-shaped flowers with 3 wide petals, fringed membranes, a broken purple/maroon band above the yellow base of the petals and a purple blotch on the claw. Appear July-August.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Linear basal leaves are often withered by flowering time. Stem leaves are alternate and clasping up to 12 inches long and grass-like
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Thin green hairless stalks that may branch near the top
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow