Butterfly Mariposa Lily (Venustus)

The Butterfly Mariposa Lily (Venustus) is generally described as a perennial forb/herb. This is native to the U.S. (United States) .

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Ethnobotanic: The sweet bulbs of this plant were eaten raw, roasted in ashes, boiled, or baked in an earth oven and relished by many tribes in California including the Pomo, Sierra Miwok, Kawaiisu, Wappo, Tubatulabal, and Foothill Yokuts. The Sierra Miwok dug the bulbs in April when buds appeared or after flowering, while the Wukchumni Yokuts dug the plants in bloom about April or May. The bulbs were rubbed across an open-twined basket to remove the outer skin by some tribes. They were harvested with a digging stick and eaten within four or five days, as they do not store well.

General Characteristics

General: Lily Family (Liliaceae). Calochortus venustus and Calochortus superbus have overlapping

Required Growing Conditions

For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site. Calochortus venustus is found in open grassland, oak woodland, and mixed conifer forests between 300 and 2700 m in central western California, the Sierra Nevada foothills, San Gabriel Mountains, and western Transverse Ranges.

Cultivation and Care

Collect or buy seed from local sources. Place the seeds in a paper bag until you are ready to plant them. Plant them in a 5 inch or deeper pot in a soil that has excellent drainage. Scatter the seeds at least one-quarter inch apart. Sprinkle a light layer of soil on top and then place quarter-inch gravel on top of the soil. The seeds should be planted in the fall and require no stratification. Let the pots sit outside during the winter in partial shade. Water the pots, keeping them slightly damp (if rains are insufficient). Germination is generally about February. Fertilize the plants in a weak solution about once a month during active growth until April. When the tips of the leaves turn yellow, stop watering and fertilizing (about the end of April). The bulbs are dormant during flowering. In the fall start watering again. Give the plants more room in the fall of the second or third year by transplanting them and spacing them 1-2 inches apart. Plant the plants outside in the ground in the third or fourth year. Plant them in full sun in summer or fall. Start watering them in September. After they have bloomed for the first time, they should be established.

General Upkeep and Control

Weed around the plants regularly and protect them from insects birds, mammals, and other animals.

Plant Basics
General Type Forb/herb
Growth Duration Perennial
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA