Bruneau's mariposa from southeast Oregon..........June 19, 2004.
Bruneau's mariposa or sego lily is sometimes classified as Calochortus nuttallii var. bruneaunis.
Bruneau's mariposa is a perennial from a bulb. It reaches a maximum height of 20-40 cm. Several narrow, long leaves may be found on the stems. These are glaucous and 10-15 cm long and 3-5 mm wide.
The inflorescence is one or two flowered (occasionally up to four), with the showy flowers being held erect. The three pure white petals have a noticeable red-puple blotch at mid petal above the yellow gland. The individual petals are oblanceloate in shape and acuminate at the tip. They are broadly cuneate-obovate in shape and from 3-4 cm long. The petals are also heavily bearded with long slender hairs above the gland. On the outer surface of the petal, a medial, longitudinal, green stripe may be found, and numerous green veins may be found also. The anthers may be yellow, blue, or reddish-brown. The sepals are white, narrow, and shorter than the petals, with numerous green, longitudinal stripes similar to the petals. Individual sepals are narrowly ovate and 2-2.5 cm long. The coloration is green with a purple spot near the base.
Although it is a beautiful wildflower, the sego lily should not be dug to bring home. The bulb is found deep underground, there is a great danger of damaging it, and mariposa lilies tend not to survive well in gardens. Instead, leave it alone and enjoy the beauty it adds to nature.
Sego lily is a wildflower of the dry sagebrush desert. Individual plants may be found both out in the open, or very frequently, growing out of the middle of sagebrush plants.
The sego lily or Bruneau's mariposa is found from the southern parts of Harney and Malheur counties in Oregon, east to South Dakota, and south to New Mexico, California, and Utah.
- -Bruneau's mariposa as seen along the Arizona Creek Road, Pueblo Mountains.............June 1, 2012.
The photo above shows the outer surface of the petals and sepals of Bruneau's mariposa as seen in southeastern Oregon...........June 19, 2004.
The photo above shows another view of the the outer details of the petals and shorter sepals.