This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
Stout, 6-36 in.: petals white or pale lilac, with a reddish spot at top, a brown-yellow center, and brown base: gland large and oblong, usually densely hairy: caps. 1-2 1/2 in. long. Calif. B.R. 1669. F.S. 2:104. Gn. 46, p. 395. - Very variable. The yellow forms (as variety sulpPhureus Hort.) are often treated as forms of C. luteus. To this group of calochortuses is properly applied the Spanish name mariposa (butterfly), for their brilliantly colored flowers, with eye-like spots on each petal and sepal, and other delicate markings with dots, fines and hairs, which are strongly suggestive of the wings of a brilliantly colored butterfly. Botanists have variously divided this great group of allied forms between C. luteus and C. venustus. Botanically all may be considered as either strains of one variable species or as a number of closely allied species.
Variety Eldorado, Purdy. The finest strain of C. venustus in cultivation It occurs naturally in a wonderfully varied mixture, in color from pure white through pink, to deep glowing reds and through lilac to deep purples. In one locality a few may vary to fight yellow. Some of these forms have been named variety pictus for the white form, variety sanguineus for the blood-red. The purple forms are entirely distinct from C. venustus variety purpurascens. Sierran foothills from Eldorado County to the far South. Altogether these plants comprise the loveliest group of the mariposa tulips.
Variety purpurascens, Wats. Petals deep lilac or purplish, darker at center, the flower fully 3 in. across. Coast Range. Strong grower. Gn. 46:394.
Variety roseus, Hort. (C. roseus, Hort.). Creamy white or lilac, with an eye midway and a rose-colored blotch at apex. Gn. 46:394.
Variety sulphureus, Purdy. Taller than the type: petals fight warm yellow with eye, and with a rose-colored blotch at top. Lower part of San Joaquin Valley, Calif.
Tall and slender, 1-2 ft.: flowers 1-1 1/2 in. across, deep purple with a dark spot on the claw and with or without a gland covered with matted hairs. San Diego Co., Calif. Known in horticulture as C. splendens variety atroviolaceus.
Variety major, Purdy. Strong and tall, 1-2 ft.: flowers 2-3 in. across; petals large, clear lilac, paler below, with a darker claw and scattered long white hairs below the middle. Coast Ranges, Monterey Co., Calif.
Variety montanus, Purdy. More slender than the type, often bulbiferous: lilac to salmon-pink, densely hairy with short yellow hairs about the gland. High mts., S. Calif.
Variety rubra, Purdy. Large, with deep-seated reddish bulb, 1-3 ft.: flowers reddish lilac, pink or purple; petals quite hairy, with short hairs on the lower third. Lake Co., Calif.
Related to C. splendens, but with stems so weak as almost to be said to creep. The flowers are large and very brilliant, a dazzling purple, with a darker purple eye, and yellow hairs below. S. Utah. - Intro, by Purdy in 1897.
stem 1-2 ft., very slender and flexuous, 1-7-flowered, bulb-bearing near the base: sepals with long, narrow, recurved tips, spotted; petals 1 in. or less long, white (or yellowish below), with a brownish claw and bearing scattered hairs about the gland: caps. very narrow. S. Calif. - The C. Palmeri of dealers is sometimes C. splendens variety montanus.
Habit of C. splendens: stem 1-2 ft., branching: flowers white to lilac, or deep lilac, very large and handsome, a large round black spot at base of each petal. - A lovely species between C. splendens and C. venustus. Remarkable for blooming with the star tulip section, fully a month before other mariposas. Native to Santa Catalina Isl., off S. Calif.; also to Calif. coast.
Sego Lily. stem erect and stiff, 1-2 ft., bulb-bearing at base, usually with only 1 cauline If., 1-5-flowered: sepals ovate-lanceolate, often dark-spotted; petals 1-2 in. long, white tinged with greenish yellow or lilac, with a purplish spot or band above the yellow base and hairy about the gland; anthers obtuse. Dak. and Neb. to Calif, and New Mex., having the widest range of any calochortus. - There are no more exquisitely beautiful flowers than these sego lilies (the Mormon name) of the Great Basin. Most of them are plants of the sage-brush deserts. The leaves are an ashy green, the foliage scant, but the great flowers are wonderful in tintings. There are shades in blue, pink, lilac, and yellowish; also white. The sego lily is the State flower of Utah.
Slender alpine species (5-6 in. high), by some regarded as a form of C. Nuttallii: flowers smoky white, banded with green and marked with dark brown. Sierra Nevadas. B.M. 5862. F.S. 20:2116.
Fig. 749. Much like C. Nuttallii: anthers acuminate: flowers light blue or almost white, delicate yellowish green below the middle, purple-banded at the base, and bearing a band of green hairs across each petal. Rocky Mts., Wyo. to New Mex.
Green-banded Mariposa Lily. stem stiff, the cauline leaves 3-5: flowers 1 or 2; sepals acuminate, sometimes spotted; petals 2 in. or less, acute, lilac with a greenish midvein, somewhat hairy. B.R. 1152. N. Calif. to Wash, and Idaho -This fine species forms a group by itself. It has a very large bulb, a stout almost leafless stem; and a large flower of an exquisite pale lavender, banded down the back with green. Petals long, narrow and pointed.
bbb. Caps. linear, not winged or prominently angled.
stem slender, 1-2 ft., forked: leaves 2 or 3 below the fork, linear, long-acuminate: flowers yellow, upright; petals and sepals acute, rhombic-oblong, with a darker somewhat hairy gland, the petals hairy and usually denticulate. Mex.
Fig. 749. Calochortus Gunnisonii. (X 1/2)
Rather stout, 3 ft.: stem - leaves short, acuminate-lanceolate: flowers yellow and purple: the sepals with a purple pit and the petals purple outside: gland naked. Mex. Carl Purdy
L. H. B