Herb: Mariposa Lily


Latin name: Calochortus gunnisonii


Family: Calochortaceae



Medicinal use of Mariposa Lily:

An infusion of the plant has been taken internally to treat rheumatic swellings and to ease the delivery of the placenta.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Bulb


Height:
30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

Flovering:
June
to July

Habitat of the herb:

Grassy hillsides and open coniferous woods. Found in a variety of habitats from moist meadows and open woods to sandy and rocky hillsides and dry gulches between 1,200 and 3,300 metres.

Edible parts of Mariposa Lily:

Bulb - raw or cooked. One report says that the raw bulb tastes like a raw new potato. It has a crisp nut-like texture and a pleasant flavour when cooked. The bulb can be dried and ground into a powder for making a sweet porridge, mush etc. Leaves - cooked. It is hard to obtain a sufficient quantity and use of the leaves will weaken the bulbs. Seed - ground into a powder. Flower buds - raw. Added to salads.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow as soon as ripe or early spring in a cold frame in a very sharply draining medium. Stratification may be helpful. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 6 months at 15C. Leave the seedlings undisturbed for their first two years growth, but give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure they do not become nutrient deficient. It is quite difficult to get the seedlings through their first period of dormancy since it is all too easy either to dry them out completely or keep them too moist when they will rot. After their second year of growth, pot up the dormant bulbs in late summer and grow them on for at least another 2 years in the greenhouse before trying them outside. Seedlings take about 5 - 7 years to come into flower. Division of the bulbs as soon as the foliage dies down. The bulbs can be planted straight out into their permanent positions but in areas with wet winters it might be best to store them overwinter and replant them in the spring. Stem bulbils, harvested from the stems after flowering. They can be stored cool and dry then planted in pots in the cold frame in the spring.

Cultivation of Mariposa Lily:

Grassy hillsides and open coniferous woods. Found in a variety of habitats from moist meadows and open woods to sandy and rocky hillsides and dry gulches between 1,200 and 3,300 metres.

Known hazards of Calochortus gunnisonii:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.