Utah State Flower
Sego Lily (common name)
Calochortus nuttallii (scientific name)
Commonly called the mariposa lily, the sego lily became Utah’s state flower in 1911. The roots had long been a source of food to Native Americans, who made porridge out of them. Because Utah’s climate and growing conditions were not what European settlers were used to, early crops did not do well and settlers had to quickly learn to identify and dig the roots (which taste similar to potatoes) in order to get enough to eat. This role in sustaining the state’s early citizens was considered when the sego lily became the state flower.
The cuplike flowers are white and have three petals, each with a purple and yellow V-shaped marking near the base. Sometimes the petals have a slight lavender-tinted blush as well. Stems and leaves are thin and grass-like, with a bluish tint. Plants flower early in the spring, usually in May or early June, and die back after flowering. Seeds germinate on the surface of the soil and then gradually descend as the bulbs form. Sego lilies spread through the horizontal growth of mature bulbs as well as growing from seed.
Plant: six to eight inches high, fine and grass-like
Mature Height: 6–18" (15–45 cm).
Flowering: May through June
Flowers: 2–3 in (5–7.6 cm) wide, 3 fan-shaped petals, 3 sepals
Flower Color: White
Leaves: 2–4" (5–10 cm), grass-like
Fruit/Seed Color: Brown
Location: Well-drained, open areas with grass and sage
Range: The Great Basin, including western Dakotas, eastern Montana, Nebraska, western Colorado, extreme northwestern New Mexico, most of Utah, northwestern Arizona, parts of Nevada.
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|Author: World Trade Press|