Sego Lily

A solitary cream colored flower with a yellow center. speckled with maroon.
The sego lily's three delicate petals form a cup-like shape around the colorful center that attracts pollinators.

NPS/ Kenneth Ingham

The sego lily is a sparse individual on Parashant’s landscape. Despite being native to this part of the world, the sego lily will never be accused of dominating the landscape. They are too rare and do not grow large and showy. Usually no more than a single individual or a small group of plants, and growing only about 10 inches long, they appear as a single vine-like stem with only a few of the elegant flowers and reddish-green leaves along it. The two to three inch flowers are most commonly creamy white but can also range into pink and lavender shades as well. Always with a yellow center, many sego lilies also have dark maroon markings in the cup at the base of three petals.

Sego lilies were an important food source for Native Americans as all parts of the plant are edible. The underground bulbs were the most sought after for their pleasant, nutty taste and texture. Seeds and bulbs were also commonly ground up to make meal, which was used in making bread. In 1911, the Utah State Legislature named the sego lily Utah’s state flower due to its role in saving the lives of many early Utah Mormon pioneers who relied on it as their main source of nutrition. Although closely tied to Utah’s history, look closely, and patiently for these quiet beauties growing in sandy or rocky soil throughout Parashant National Monument as well.
Three flowers with soft pink petals.
These pink petaled lilies exhibit a much more maroon center that their cream colored counterpart.



Last updated: January 15, 2020

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