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Mariposa Lily (Calochortus gunnisonii)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Mariposa Lily
Calochortus gunnisonii

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    An infusion of the plant has been taken internally to treat rheumatic swellings and to ease the delivery of the placenta[257].

  • Edible Use

    Bulb – raw or cooked[46, 105, 161]. One report says that the raw bulb tastes like a raw new potato[183]. It has a crisp nut-like texture and a pleasant flavour when cooked[85, 183]. The bulb can be dried and ground into a powder for making a sweet porridge, mush etc[85, 183, 257].

    Leaves – cooked. It is hard to obtain a sufficient quantity[85] and use of the leaves will weaken the bulbs.

    Seed – ground into a powder[85, 183].

    Flower buds – raw. Added to salads[85, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

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[138]. Leave the seedlings undisturbed for their first two years growth[138], 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[214]. 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[214]. 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.
Requires a deep very well-drained fertile sandy soil in a sunny position and must be kept dry from mid summer to late autumn[1, 60, 200]. This is a rather difficult plant to cultivate in Britain, it is very cold hardy but is intolerant of wetness especially in the winter[1, 42]. 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[120]. 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[138]. The bulbs must be replanted immediately according to another report[1]. Bulbs frequently divide after flowering, the bulblets taking 2 years to reach flowering size[200]. This species is closely related to C. ambiguus[214]. Hand pollination is necessary if seed is required[1].
South-western N. America – Rocky Mountains.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.