Ethnobotany. A food for many Amerindian Peoples of California: the bulbs were eaten raw or roasted.
Description by the California Native Plant Society. Calochortus splendens is a species in the Liliaceae Family known by the common name “Splendid Mariposa Lily”. It is native to California and Baja California where it is found primarily near the coast, in foothills and valleys and on the west slope of the mountains. Growing from a bulb, it is usually found coming up among dense, low shrubs, herbs or grasses. It grows to a maximum of 60 cm in height and 15 cm in width. It is a thin-stemmed lily with few leaves (thin, strap-like, arising from the base) and bearing flowers singly or in flower clusters of up to four. Each flower is ringed with smaller, ribbonlike, curling leaves. The bowl-shaped flowers are of varying shades of blue, pink, purple, or lavender, with a spot of darker purple at the base of each petal. The flower may have numerous white hairs in the center and bright purple pollen. In the wild it blooms profusely following fire and then may not bloom again for years. In the garden do not expect it to bloom every year as flowering requires considerable expenditure of stored energy from the bulb.
Reference Books. The gem of a book for all Calochortus aficionados is : “Calochortus Mariposa Lilies and their Relatives”. By Mary E. Gerritsen and Ron Parsons. 2007. Timber Press.