Herbs & Plants

Calochortus macrocarpus

Botanical Name: Calochortus macrocarpus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales
Genus: Calochortus
Species: C. macrocarpus

Synonyms: Mariposa macrocarpa (Douglas) Hoover

Common Names: Sagebrush Mariposa Lily, Nez Perce mariposa lily

Calochortus macrocarpus is native to the Northwestern United States (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana), northern California, northern Nevada, and a small area of southern British Columbia.It grows on dry hills, usually in loose soil. In sagebrush scrub and open coniferous forests to 2000 metres.

Calochortus macrocarpus is a bulbous perennial flowering herb, growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It is in flower from April to June. The flowers are large, one- to three-petaled, and are pink to purple. The sepals are about 2 inches long, slightly longer than the green-striped petals.

Flowers 1 -3 , s howy, erec t. Sepals narrowly lanc eolate, tapering to a long s harp point, 4 -5 cm, generally longer than the petals . P etals 4 -6 cm, obovate, white or nearly s o, with a longitudinal green s tripe on the outer s urfac e. T he gland on the inner s urfac e of the petal is triangular-oblong, s urrounded with a broad, c ontinuous , fringed membrane and dens ely c overed with s lender hairs . A bove the gland, the inner petal has a c ons pic uous trans vers e reddis h purple band and is bearded with s lender hairs . Stamens 6 , anthers linear, about 1 cm, longer than the filaments .

Fruits: C aps ules linear-lanc eolate with a pointed tip, 3 -angled but not winged, erec t, 4 -5 cm. Seeds flat, inflated, s traw-c olored. Flowers and
fruits July to A ugus t.

The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Calochortus macrocarpus leaves are blue-green and grass-like. The bulbs are tapering, like a carrot.


Requires a deep very well-drained fertile sandy soil in a sunny position and must be kept dry over winter. 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 spring. Bulbs frequently divide after flowering, the bulblets taking 2 years to reach flowering size. Hand pollination is necessary if seed is required.

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. One report says that the bulbs must be planted into their permanent positions immediately, whilst another says that they can be stored overwinter and replanted 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:
Bulbs are eaten – raw or cooked. The bulb can be harvested in early spring, peeled and eaten raw. It can also be boiled or baked and used like potatoes. Flower buds are eaten- raw. A sweet flavour.

Medicinal Uses:
A poultice of the mashed bulbs has been used to treat poison ivy rash.

Other Uses: Americans grow this plant in their flower garden

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.


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