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Splendid Mariposa Lily Back to Plant Page
Calochortus splendens

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About Splendid Mariposa Lily (Calochortus splendens) Calochortus splendens is a species Liliaceae (Lily) family known by the common name Splendid Mariposa Lily. It is native to California and Baja California where it is found primarily near the coast, in foothills and valleys and on the west slope of the mountains. Growing from a bulb, it is usually found coming up among dense, low shrubs, herbs or grasses. It is a thin-stemmed lily with few leaves and bearing flowers singly or in flower clusters of up to four. Each flower is ringed with smaller, ribbonlike, curling leaves. The bowl-shaped flowers are of varying shades of blue, pink, purple, or lavender, with a spot of darker purple at the base of each petal. The flower may have numerous white hairs in the center and bright purple pollen. In the wild it blooms profusely following fire and then may not bloom again for years. In the garden do not expect it to bloom every year as flowering requires considerable expenditure of stored energy from the bulb.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
2 ft (0.6 m)

Max. Width
6 in (15cm)

Summer Deciduous

Thin, strap-like, arising from the base

Flower Color
Pink, Purple, Lavender, Blue

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Seasonally dry slopes, flats and canyons

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
2' - 10070'

Annual Precip. ?
4.4" - 61.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 3.65"

Coldest Month ?
26.3° F - 61.4° F

Hottest Month ?
52.4° F - 88.8° F

Humidity ?
0.80 vpd - 42.82 vpd

Soil Description
Found in sandy or clay soils near the coast, or gravelly soils inland

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 10° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 7*, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Companion Plants
In the garden it works well with other geophytes such as Wild Onions (Allium sp.), Golden Star (Bloomeria sp.), Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma sp.), Brodiaea sp., Lilies (Lilium sp.), and Triteleia sp. Also works with native grasses and herbs, but avoid larger shrubs or the Calochortus may get lost in the understory.

Wildlife Attracted
Numerous insects especially bees

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

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

Rarely Used

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

Propagation ?
Best to buy bulbs, the larger the better. For propagating by seed: No treatment. Plants require 3-5 years from seed to produce flowers.

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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