Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Calochortus flexuosus

Strangling or winding mariposa lily - Calochortus flexuosus

Calochortus flexuosus is a member of the mariposa lily genus, and as such, is among the most spectacular of our native lilies. Found in the Death Valley region east through Colorado. Their typical habitat are rocky slopes, desert hills and mesas between 600 and 1700 m in elevation.

This plant is often inquilisticly commensal with another plant, using its host plant as a support structure. Like another desert plant, the chicory (Rafinesquia neomexicana), it is unlikely that this growth significantly impacts the host plant. C. flexuosus is also capable of forming a scrambling vine that will grow along the ground, and as such, the plant is not obligately symbiotic with a host.

The blossoms of these lilies are typically a light lavender color, with a slightly rarer morph having light, almost white petals. The one or two leaves this plant produces are ephemeral, drying by the point the plant is in flower, with small bracts arming the stems in place of true leaves. The flowers emerge from April to May. [Jepson]

1 comment: