The photo above shows a close-up view of the flower of elegant cats-ear as seen on open slopes along the old highway at Meachem, OR........ June 25, 2008.
Elegant cats-ear is a beautiful wildflower with a single erect stem arising to 15 cm tall from a deep seated, tunicated bulb. The basal leaf is flat, and may be as much as 20 cm long, and 2 - 10 mm wide. The venation is parallel, and the leaf has a grass-like shape, although tapering to both ends. Two or more lanceolate to linear bracts are flund below the inflorescence.
The inflorescence is one or two flowered (occasionally to 7 flowers), with the showy flowers being held erect. The three creamy white to greenish-white petals have a noticeable red-puple blotch at mid petal above the gland. The individual petals are obovate to rounded in shape. The petals are also heavily bearded with long slender hairs abovethe gland. The sepals are green, oblong lanceolate in shape, with a pointed tip. The sepals are shorter than the petals with a purplish blotch in the middle. The fruit is three-winged, elliptical to orbicular in shape, and nodding.
Although it is a beautiful wildflower, the Elegant Cats-ear 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.
Elegant cats-ear is wildflower of upland grasslands and open coniferous forests.
Elegant cats-ear is found from the Blue Mts of southeastern Washington south to northeastern Oregon, and eastward to central Idaho and western Montana. It is also found in the Siskiyou Mts of southwestern Oregon and norhtern California.