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Sego Lily (Nuttall's Mariposa)

Calochortus nuttallii

Calochortus nuttallii

Family: Liliaceae – Lily Family

Perennial herbs; stems 3.2” to 1.7' (8 to 50 cm) tall above ground

Leaves: parallel veined; alternate; simple; narrow and grasslike; typically 3 leaves with pointed tip; 0.6” to 3.6” (1.5 to 9 cm) long

Flowers: 3 white, cream or pink/lavender petals with yellow in center; 3 green to purple sepals; commonly petaloid; bisexual; white, pink, or purple; 6 stamens; 1 pistil; radially symmetrical; 1 to 5 flowers; petals 1” to 2.5” (2.5 to 6.3 cm) long

Pollinators: insects

Fruits: 3 chambered capsule

Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May, June

Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub, grassland and pinyon-juniper communities

Location seen: Windows road, Windows trail, Salt Valley, Cache Valley, park road just north of junction with Delicate Arch road

Other: The genus name, “Calochortus”, is from the Greek “kalos” which means "beautiful" and “chortos” which means "grass" referring to the leaves. The species name, “nuttallii”, honors Englishman Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), a botanist, ornithologist, curator of the Harvard Botanic Gardens , and author in 1816 of The Genera of North American Plants.

Sego lily is the state flower of Utah. The bulbs are edible.

Yucca and aloe used to be in this family. The family is extremely complex. Some ornamentals and medicinally useful plants are in this family, but a few species are poisonous.

Did You Know?

Detail of petroglyph panel

Native Americans never inhabited Arches on a year-round basis, though they certainly roamed the area searching for wild game, useful plants and rocks for tool-making. Petroglyphs near Wolfe Ranch are thought to have been created by Indians from the Ute/Paiute cultures. More...