Montana Outdoors

June 5, 2012

Mariposa Lilies

Mariposa lilies are in bloom now in this area. USDA Plants shows 56 species of Calochortus, all of them confined to the 14 western-most states plus British Columbia and Alberta.

There are many variations in the blossoms even within the same species, but I think they are all beautiful. (I also reserve the right to be completely wrong in my species identifications of them.)

Pointedtip mariposa lily, Three-spot Mariposa lily, Baker's mariposa lily

Pointedtip mariposa lily, Three-spot Mariposa lily, Baker's mariposa lily

Pointedtip mariposa lily, Three-spot Mariposa lily, Baker's mariposa lily

Pointedtip mariposa lily, Three-spot Mariposa lily, Baker's mariposa lily

Pointedtip mariposa lily, Three-spot Mariposa lily, Baker's mariposa lily

Pointedtip mariposa lily, Three-spot Mariposa lily, Baker’s mariposa lily, Calochortus apiculatus

Elegant mariposa lily, Northwerstern mariposa lily, Elegant cat's ear

Elegant mariposa lily, Northwerstern mariposa lily, Elegant cat's ear

Elegant mariposa lily, Northwerstern mariposa lily, Elegant cat's ear

Elegant mariposa lily, Northwerstern mariposa lily, Elegant cat’s ear, Calochortus elegans

Tolmie's mariposa lily, Tolmie's star tulip, Cat's ears

Tolmie's mariposa lily, Tolmie's star tulip, Cat's ears

Tolmie's mariposa lily, Tolmie's star tulip, Cat's ears

Tolmie’s mariposa lily, Tolmie’s star tulip, Cat’s ears, Calochortus tolmie

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52 Comments »

  1. Another unique flower with fuzz … About how large are the flowers?
    I like the Elegant ones best … the white with just a touch of purple/blue, very delicate looking.
    Great pictures as always.

    Like

    Comment by bearyweather — June 6, 2012 @ 4:11 am

    • They vary in size quite a bit. Usually an inch to an inch and a half across. They grow quite close to the ground.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 6, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

  2. What a strange plant with those airs on the petals. I can’t think of another flower that does this, though I’m sure there must be some.

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    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — June 6, 2012 @ 6:19 am

    • Iris?

      Like

      Comment by Kim — June 6, 2012 @ 8:29 am

    • I don’t recall another flower that does it like these do. I’ve seen some of these with much more “hair” than any in these photos. I’ll probably encounter some later on and if so I’ll post more photos.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 6, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

      • Bearded iris have “hairs” on the petals but they are confined to a narrow strip on the 3 lower petals. I still can’t think of another flower that has them like this.

        Like

        Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — June 7, 2012 @ 3:00 am

  3. Wow, these are neat. So different.

    Like

    Comment by Homestead Ramblings — June 6, 2012 @ 6:26 am

    • They are in the lily family and they are very plentiful in this region. I’ve also seen them at many different elevations.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 6, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  4. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

    Like

    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — June 6, 2012 @ 6:42 am

    • I think they are too. I think of them as little fuzzy tulips.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 6, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

  5. The Mariposa is my favorite wild flower and it’s been a few months since ours have bloomed. To have the opportunity to enjoy these beauties once again was a wonderful surprise and a great start to my day. BEAUTIFUL!

    Like

    Comment by anniespickns — June 6, 2012 @ 6:55 am

    • Your flowers are so far ahead of ours! These are just everywhere here right now and I haven’t even been to my favorite place to see them yet.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 6, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

  6. They all look very much like cat ears…how strange…and beautiful, too. Thank you, Montucky. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    Comment by seekraz — June 6, 2012 @ 7:04 am

    • They are strange but pretty little flowers. I am impressed with the variety of colors that they have.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 6, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

      • They do have quite a variety of colors…and they’re still strange. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

        Comment by seekraz — June 6, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

  7. These are just beautiful! I love the name of ‘cat’s ears’.

    Like

    Comment by Jo Woolf — June 6, 2012 @ 8:24 am

    • I’ve noticed that “cat’s ears” is part of the common names of several of the species. I think it’s an apt name for them.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 6, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

  8. I’ve seen lots of mariposas, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen all-white ones without a blush or spot of purple or maroon or yellow…

    Like

    Comment by Kim — June 6, 2012 @ 8:30 am

    • Strike yellow from my last reply, as I see your “all-white” ones DO blush with yellow. But no purple or maroon or blue, that’s new for me.

      Like

      Comment by Kim — June 6, 2012 @ 8:31 am

      • I think we have several more species in Montana but I’ve not ever seen them.

        Like

        Comment by montucky — June 6, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

  9. I have never heard of or seen anything like these before. They are all quite beautiful!!! Well done indeed!!!

    Like

    Comment by dhphotosite — June 6, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

    • Thanks David! I think they are beautiful too and I seem to find one with a new color pattern every year.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 6, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

  10. I like them all, especially the one with the purple in the center. How large are these flowers, and are they all the same size?

    Like

    Comment by sandy — June 6, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

    • They do vary in size, I think though just as a variation, not a species trait. THey are usually an inch to an inch and a half across and they are around 4 inches tall. Onc in awhile I see some a little larger though.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 6, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

  11. each are absolutely gorgeous!

    Like

    Comment by Tammie — June 6, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

    • I’m intrigued by the different colors and patterns that they have. There are many more variations that I haven’t encountered yet this year.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 6, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

  12. You always find the most interesting flowers.

    Like

    Comment by TheDailyClick — June 7, 2012 @ 3:42 am

    • When I first encountered these, it was after a two hour hike into the high country. Now I’ve found them just about everywhere I go, although the higher ones were even prettier.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 9, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

  13. Are they scented like lilies? It’s so interesting that there are so many color variations.

    Like

    Comment by Candace — June 7, 2012 @ 9:20 am

    • My sense of smell is not all that good any more, but I don’t detect a scent from them.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 9, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

  14. I like the yellow and white the best. The fuzziness is so appealing – I want to reach out and “pet” one. It’s interesting that so many restaurants use the Mariposa name for their establishments – I found out it means “butterfly”. Certainly the flower seems as delicate as the little fluttering creatures.

    Like

    Comment by shoreacres — June 7, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    • I didn’t know the “butterfly” meaning or mariposa. That is very fitting for these.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 9, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

  15. Marvellous pictures, you’ve captured all the structural detail superbly. And they’re beautiful too!

    Like

    Comment by Finn Holding — June 7, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  16. Hi Montucky, Wow! Beautiful lilies! Such excellent photography. I like how you can see all the little hairy projections on the blossoms. Have a wonderful day today and a nice coming weekend!

    Like

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — June 8, 2012 @ 7:40 am

    • Thank you. I hope you are having a pleasant weekend too!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 9, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

  17. I have trouble telling one lily from another, and that’s even while looking at it with a guidebook. These are great–by any name we want to use.

    Malcolm

    Like

    Comment by knightofswords — June 8, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

    • That’s true. It really matters little if I’m unable to hang the correct name on them.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 9, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

  18. Again great series. Your photos praise the beauty of Mariposas. All of Your photos are gorgeous. To name my favorite is difficult, but I love fifth and fourth from the bottom.

    Like

    Comment by Sartenada — June 9, 2012 @ 12:04 am

    • I also find it difficult to pick a favorite from among these. I also find it difficult to stop photographing them.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 9, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

  19. How beautiful these are in great detail. I really like that this lily is ‘hairy’ as it makes it most interesting!

    Like

    Comment by Anna Surface — June 9, 2012 @ 9:12 am

    • I have to hypothesize that those hairs must mean something to the pollinators of these species.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 9, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

  20. These are so beatiful! I’ve never seen a flower quite like them.

    Like

    Comment by kateri — June 9, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

    • I remember I was very surprised when I first saw them. I’m glad that they are so wide spread here.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 9, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

  21. Definitely the iris/lilly family and so lovely!

    Like

    Comment by Tammy — June 9, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

    • They seem to be very hardy little things too. I’ve seen them on mountain tops later in the summer as well as the more sheltered places.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 9, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  22. Very nice photos of these flowers that I have never seen.

    Like

    Comment by bentehaarstad — June 10, 2012 @ 5:13 am

  23. They’re like nothing I’ve seen here in Ohio!

    Like

    Comment by Watching Seasons — June 11, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

    • They seem to be only in 14 of the western states plus B.C. and Alberta. I wish I knew why some of the flowers have the distribution that they do.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 11, 2012 @ 11:32 pm


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