Calochortus gunnisonii


Ethnobotany. A food and a medicine for many Amerindian Peoples. Calochortus gunnisonii was a food for the following First Peoples: Keres, Cheyenne, Navajo Ramah. Among the Navajo Ramah, the juice of the leaves was applied to pimples; a decoction of the whole plant was taken to ease delivery of placenta; and the plant was also used a ceremonial medicine. Among the Keres, an infusion of the was plant taken for swellings. Among the Cheyennes, the dried and chopped bulbs were used as an ingredient for a medicinal mixture. These informations were mentioned in: “The Ethnobotany of the Ramah Navaho”; “The Cheyenne Indians – Their History and Ways of Life Vol 2”; “The Ethnobotany of the Northern Cheyenne Indians of Montana”.

Description from the Flora of America. Calochortus gunnisonii. Plants usually bulbose; bulb coat, when present, membranous. Stems not branching, straight, 2.4–5.5 dm. Leaves: basal withering, 18–35 cm; blade linear. Inflorescences subumbellate, 1–3-flowered. Flowers erect; perianth open, campanulate; sepals marked similar to petals, lanceolate, usually much shorter, glabrous, apex acute; petals white to purple, greenish adaxially, clawed, often with narrow, transverse purple band distal to gland and purple blotch on claw, obovate, cuneate, usually obtuse and rounded distally; glands transversely oblong, not depressed, densely bearded with distally branching hairs, outermost of which somewhat connate at base to form discontinuous, deeply fringed membranes; filaments shorter than anthers; anthers lanceolate, apex acute to apiculate. Capsules erect, linear-oblong, 3-angled, 3–6 cm, apex acute. Seeds flat, inflated. 2n = 18.usually bulbose

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. 


Calochortus gunnisonii in Mesa Verde

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