Sego Lily (Nuttall's Mariposa)
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
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?
In the late 1800s, John Wesley Wolfe, a disabled Civil War veteran, and his son, Fred, built a homestead in what is now Arches National Park. A weathered log cabin, root cellar, and corral remain as evidence of the primitive ranch they operated for more than 10 years.