Ethnobotany. A food for many Amerindian Peoples: 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 by the California Native Plant Society. Calochortus tolmiei is a species of flowering plant in the lily family known by the common names Tolmie star-tulip and pussy ears. It is native to the west coast of the United States from Washington to California, where it is a common member of the flora in several types of habitat. It is a perennial herb producing a slender stem, branched or unbranched, to 40 centimeters in maximum height. There is a basal leaf up to 40 centimeters long which does not wither at flowering, and generally a smaller leaf farther up the stem. The flower cluster is a solitary bloom or a cluster of bell-shaped flowers. Each has white to pale pink or purple petals, each up to 2.5 centimeters long, and three narrower sepals beneath. The petals are usually very hairy on their inner surfaces, and may be fringed with long hairs as well. The fruit is a winged capsule 2 or 3 centimeters long containing several dark brown seeds.
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.