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Yellow Mariposa Lily Back to Plant Page
Calochortus luteus

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About Yellow Mariposa Lily (Calochortus luteus) Calochortus luteus, or Yellow mariposa lily is a species of the Liliaceae endemic to California. This species is found on coastal prairie, grasslands and some open forest floors primarily in the central Coast Ranges and Sierra foothills. Like other Mariposa Lilies it grows from a bulb, with most of its growth occurring in winter, followed by spring flowering and summer dormancy. It requires good drainage and must be kept mostly dry in summer. The leaves arising directly from the bulbare strap-like and long. The flower is 3-5 centimeter across and primarily bright yellow, with sparse hair inside and often red-brown streaks or blotches. It is reported to be one of the easiest Mariposa Lilies to grow in the garden.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
1.6 ft (0.49 m)

Max. Width
.5 ft (0.2 m)

Upright Columnar

Summer Deciduous

Flower Color
Yellow, Red

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Grasslands or openings in woodlands, typically in somewhat hilly terrain

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
-253' - 9387'

Annual Precip. ?
6.7" - 66.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.46"

Coldest Month ?
28.7° F - 52.8° F

Hottest Month ?
55.0° F - 78.2° F

Humidity ?
0.41 vpd - 26.50 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils including sand and clay, but does not like too much organic matter

Soil PH
6.0 - 7.0

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -5° F

Sunset Zones ?
7*, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Plant with annuals, herbaceous perennials, or other geophytes, including Wild Onions (Allium sp.), Indian Milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa), Brodiaea sp., Clarkia sp., Delphinium sp., California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica or other species), Bird's Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor), Tidy Tips (Layia sp.), Lupines (Lupinus sp.), Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii), Heliotrope (Phacelia sp.), Checkerbloom (Sidalcea sp.), Triteleia sp.

Wildlife Attracted
Numerous insects are attracted to the flowers

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Nursery Availability
Rarely Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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