Calochortus venustus--The Butterfly Mariposa Lily
The Butterfly Mariposa is easily the most variable species of Calochortus in California. It can range in color from a delicate white, or pale yellow to a firey, or wine-like red--and the patterning of its petals can be even more variable. More than any other, this species lives up to its name in the way each petal can look like a butterfly wing.
Above: Truly like a butterfly--a flower growing in the Sunol region of Alameda County.
Left: A delicate pair of White Mariposas, lightly kissed with pink on the petal exterior. Right: An open bloom showing the species' charateristc "upper petal blotch"--this one resembles a faint match-flame.
Above: A showier Venustus bloom and bud. Note the gracefully curved sepals on the right.