Desert Mariposa Lily

Calochortus desertii

Doubting Mariposa Lily, Calochortus ambiguus, photo © by Michael Plagens

Found on a rocky slope adjacent to Cave Creek, Maricopa Co., Arizona. April 2013.

FLOWERS: Distinctive spring flowers of three, large, yellow or orange petals, six purplish stamens and intricate ring of dark purple and red hairs about the center. The flowers open with the morning sun, and are usually wilted and closed up by early afternoon.

LEAVES: The leaves are narrow, grass-like and thickened/succulent. They are all at ground level.

RANGE: Several Mariposa Lilies are found across Arizona; this one is found from the mountains east and north from Tucson and Phoenix.

PERENNIAL HERB: Survives season to season within a subterranean bulb. The whole mature plants are less than ¼ meter tall and appear in spring. By summer there are no leaves present above ground.

FRUIT: Dry capsules with three segments and two rows of flat seeds in each segment.


Liliaceae -- Lily Family

More Information:

Arizona Naturalist
Sycamore Canyons
The Flora of Arizona's Sycamore Canyons


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 22 April 2013,
updated 28 April 2022.