Ethnobotany. A food for many Amerindian Peoples of California: the bulbs were eaten raw or roasted.
By the Mendocino People as mentioned in “Plants Used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California”, (Contributions from the U.S. National Herbarium 7:295-408. Chestnut, V. K., 1902).
By the Pomo and Kashaya Peoples as mentioned in “Kashaya Pomo Plants”, (Goodrich, Jennie and Claudia Lawson. Los Angeles. American Indian Studies Center, University of California, Los Angeles. 1980).
By the Yuki People as mentioned in “Some Plants Used by the Yuki Indians of Round Valley in Northern California” (Curtin, L. S. M., The Masterkey 31:85-94. 1957).
Description. Calochortus elegans var. nanus is a perennial herb producing a slender, generally unbranched stem up to 5 centimeters in height. The basal leaf is around 10 long and does not wither at flowering. The inflorescence bears a few tiny flowers. According to the botanist Frank Callahan – who wrote the chapter on Calochortus in the newly published volume 1 of the Flora of Oregon – the nectary membrane is fringed for Calochortus elegans var. elegans and has sharp or rounded teeth for Calochortus elegans var. nanus. As well, the sepals are not tinged purple at their base for Calochortus elegans var. elegans contrarily to Calochortus elegans var. nanus.
Reference Books. The gem of a book for all Calochortus afficionados is : “Calochortus Mariposa Lilies and their Relatives”. By Mary E. Gerritsen and Ron Parsons. 2007. Timber Press.