Calochortus gunnisonii

 

Botanical Name ; Calochortus gunnisonii
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Calochortus
Species: C. gunnisonii
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales

Common Names: Gunnison’s mariposa lily, Lily, Mariposa, Mariposa Lily, Gunnison’s mariposa lily

Habitat : Calochortus gunnisonii is native to the western United States, primarily in the Rocky Mountains and Black Hills: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, northwestern Nebraska (Sioux County) and eastern Idaho (Fremont County).
It grows on grassy hillsides and open coniferous woods[60]. Found in a variety of habitats from moist meadows and open woods to sandy and rocky hillsides and dry gulches between 1,200 and 3,300 metres.

Description:
Calochortus gunnisonii is a bulb-forming perennial with straight stems up to 55 cm tall.It is a typically large and beautiful member of the genus; its bell-shaped flowers have three broad, rounded white (rarely pink or pale yellow) petals and three thin, shorter, pointed sepals, with a ring of fine greenish-yellow hairs around the center and a circular band of purple. In the middle are six anthers and a three pronged stigma. Flowers are about 2 inches in diameter. The thin, bendy stalks bear a few grass-like leaves, and can branch a few times towards the top. Stem and leaves are hairless. Plants sprout from (edible) bulbs, usually deeply buried.

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 Varieties:
*Calochortus gunnisonii var. gunnisonii – most of species range
*Calochortus gunnisonii var. perpulcher Cockerell – New Mexico

USDA hardiness zone : 3-7 Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
Cultivation:
Requires a deep very well-drained fertile sandy soil in a sunny position and must be kept dry from mid summer to late autumn. This is a rather difficult plant to cultivate in Britain, it is very cold hardy but is intolerant of wetness especially in the winter. It is easiest to grow in a bulb frame but is worth trying outdoors at the base of a south-facing wall, especially with shrubs that like these conditions. Bulbs can be lifted as soon as the foliage dies down in the summer and stored overwinter in a cool dry place, replanting in the spring. The bulbs must be replanted immediately according to another report. Bulbs frequently divide after flowering, the bulblets taking 2 years to reach flowering size. This species is closely related to C. ambiguus. Hand pollination is necessary if seed is required.
Propagation:
Seed – sow as soon as ripe or early spring in a cold frame in a very sharply draining medium. Stratification may be helpful. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 6 months at 15°c. Leave the seedlings undisturbed for their first two years growth], but give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure they do not become nutrient deficient. It is quite difficult to get the seedlings through their first period of dormancy since it is all too easy either to dry them out completely or keep them too moist when they will rot. After their second year of growth, pot up the dormant bulbs in late summer and grow them on for at least another 2 years in the greenhouse before trying them outside. Seedlings take about 5 – 7 years to come into flower. Division of the bulbs as soon as the foliage dies down. The bulbs can be planted straight out into their permanent positions but in areas with wet winters it might be best to store them overwinter and replant them in the spring. Stem bulbils, harvested from the stems after flowering. They can be stored cool and dry then planted in pots in the cold frame in the spring
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root; Seed.
Edible Uses:

Bulb – raw or cooked. One report says that the raw bulb tastes like a raw new potato. It has a crisp nut-like texture and a pleasant flavour when cooked. The bulb can be dried and ground into a powder for making a sweet porridge, mush etc. Leaves – cooked. It is hard to obtain a sufficient quantity and use of the leaves will weaken the bulbs. Seed – ground into a powder. Flower buds – raw. Added to salads.

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the plant has been taken internally to treat rheumatic swellings by the Acoma and Laguna Indians and by the Navajo to ease the delivery of the placenta. Juice of the leaves were applied to pimples.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calochortus_gunnisonii
http://www.americansouthwest.net/plants/wildflowers/calochortus-gunnisonii.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Calochortus+gunnisonii

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