|The Desert Mariposa is a perennial herb
and member of the lily family. It also produces one of the most
spectacular flowers that can be seen in the
flowers typically bloom for about 1 week in the late spring if rainfall
has been sufficient. During dry spells, the bulb will remain dormant and
can survive in that state for several years. Flowers are orange or
yellow with 3
broad petals that form an open cup. The plant grows in rocky or
heavy clay soils from 2000 to 6500 feet in elevation.
Mariposa means "butterfly" in
The plant itself is unassuming and difficult to spot
when not in bloom. The mariposa can grow to 2 feet in height and usually
has a few grass-like, gray/green leaves. You would think, with its
brilliant flower, that the Mariposa would make a nice plant for the
garden, however, attempts at cultivation have been unsuccessful.
Given the heavy handed 'management' of many large wilderness areas, it's
interesting that the needs of this one small plant are not
understood well enough to enable cultivation. There may be a lesson in conceit here.