A very attractive mountain plant, growing near streams. It is from nine to twenty-four inches tall, with an angled stem, pale green above and reddish below. The delicate flowers, about half an inch long, with a three-lobed green stigma and yellow anthers, grow singly or in clusters of two or three, nodding shyly under the pretty leaves, which are dull above and very shiny on the under side, with oddly crumpled edges and set obliquely on the stem. The berry when unripe is orange color and suggested the name Drops of Gold, but becomes bright red when it matures in June. D. Hookeri is similar, but the style is not three-lobed and the leaves are slightly rough to the touch and are not so thin or crumpled. They spread out so flat that they make a green roof over the flowers, completely screening them from the passer-by. This grows in shady woods, but not near streams.
Fairy Bells. Disporum trachycarpum. Drops of Gold. Disporum Hooker i. LILY FAMILY. Llliaceae.
Perhaps the most characteristic western flowers are the members of the genus Calochortus. They grow freely all through the West, as far north as British America, and down into Mexico, but they never get east of Nebraska, so these gay and graceful flowers may be considered the peculiar property of the West. Calochortus means "beautiful grass" and the leaves are usually grasslike, the stems slender and the flowers bright in color, decorative and interesting in form. They have three sepals, often greenish, and three large, colored petals, with a honey-gland, usually covered with hairs, at the base of each. They are allied to true Tulips, so the popular name is suitable, and they fall into three groups: Globe Tulips, with nodding, globular flowers, and nodding capsules; Star Tulips, with erect, starlike flowers and nodding capsules; and Mariposa Tulips, with large, somewhat cup-shaped flowers and erect capsules. Mariposa means "butterfly" in Spanish and is appropriate, for the brilliant hairy spots on the petals are wonderfully like the markings of a butterfly's wing and the airy blossoms seem to have but just alighted on the tips of their slender stalks. They usually grow on dry open hillsides and their leaves have often withered away before the flowers bloom. The various forms run into each other, so that it is impossible to determine all the different species. They have solid bulbs, some of which are edible, considered a delicacy by the Indians and called Noonas.