Mariposa Lily

Calochortus gunnisonii

Appearance: Blooming from March to June, this is one of the most beautiful, simplistic wildflowers of Colorado.  A close relative to lilies, the cup-shaped flowers of Mariposa Lily have 3 translucent petals, usually white with a tinge of pink or blue.  Inside the cup of petals is a ring of bright yellow hair.  This native perennial grows up to 20” tall on a single slender stem.  Narrow, grass-like foliage usually withers at the base of the plant by bloom time.

Habitat: Can be seen growing individually, or in large colonies, in full sun, from the foothills to montane regions, in aspen groves and meadows.

Photo by Lisa BirdLandscape suitability: Shade and drought tolerant, prefers well-drained sandy soils.  Great for a wildflower meadow, but plants and seeds are hard to come by.   You may have to call the local nurseries or do an internet search.

Contributed by Linda Smith, Colorado Native Plant Master
Top photo by Leslie Holzmann