Herb: Sagebrush Mariposa Lily

Latin name: Calochortus macrocarpus

Family: Calochortaceae

Medicinal use of Sagebrush Mariposa Lily:

A poultice of the mashed bulbs has been used to treat poison ivy rash.

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)

to June

Habitat of the herb:

Dry hills, usually in loose soil. In sagebrush scrub and open coniferous forests to 2000 metres.

Edible parts of Sagebrush Mariposa Lily:

Bulb - raw or cooked. The bulb can be harvested in early spring, peeled and eaten raw. It can also be boiled or baked and used like potatoes. Flower buds - raw. A sweet flavour.

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. One report says that the bulbs must be planted into their permanent positions immediately, whilst another says that they can be stored overwinter and replanted 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 Sagebrush Mariposa Lily:

Dry hills, usually in loose soil. In sagebrush scrub and open coniferous forests to 2000 metres.

Known hazards of Calochortus macrocarpus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.