Sagebrush Mariposa Lily (Calochortus macrocarpus)
The exquisite sagebrush mariposa lily, the largest in size of the many calochortus, is found in dry, sandy, shrub-steppe vegetation like the open ridges of the Yakima River Canyon where we discovered it. It’s three pointed sepals alternate with three true petals, which have a dark (supposedly green?) band across them. Bugs are a common sight on the flower; per the USDA Forest Service: “mariposa lilies are believed to be pollinator ‘generalists’ and attract a variety of insects including bees, wasps, bee-flies, in addition to several kinds of beetles.” We’ve posted two other calochortus species: tolmiei and subalpinus.