CALOCHORTUS — Mariposa Lily, Globe Tulip(Calochor’tus)
Beautiful flowering bulbs from western America which belong to the Lily family, Liliaceae. The flowers, which are borne on erect stems, 12-15 in. high, are very showy. Calochortus is derived from the Greek, kalos, beautiful, and chortus, grass, a reference to the form of the leaves.
Calochortus is divided into two groups, popularly known as Globe and Star Tulips, which have nodding bell-shaped flowers, and Mariposa Lilies, with cup-shaped flowers. In their native range in the far West, Calochortus are easy to grow in light, sandy, acid soil. They are less easy to grow and keep elsewhere.
When to Plant the Bulbs
The bulbs must be planted in fall in a sheltered position in well-drained sandy soil to which charcoal and decomposed pine-tree needles may be added with advantage. The bulbs should be set 2-3 in. deep and 3 in. apart, and it is wise to cover the bed with leaves, salt hay or similar material for winter protection, removing it in spring. The Globe and Star Tulips thrive .best in a slightly shady position. The Mariposa Lilies need sunshine; they usually thrive better than the other type in cold climates.
In cold localities, Calochortus may be successfully grown in well-ventilated cold frames either planted in a specially prepared bed of soil or in pots or pans which are sunk to their rims in sand, cinders, or peat moss.
The Bulbs Must Be Lifted Every Year
If the plants are grown in a garden frame the glass sash or top should be removed or left fully open after danger from frost has passed: When the leaves have died down the bulbs should be lifted, dried, and stored until autumn. If left in the soil, and the summer be wet and dull, premature growth will take place and that is certain to be injured during the winter. It is not necessary to lift the bulbs in western gardens.
How Calochortus Is Propagated
Seeds are sown as soon as they are ripe in flower pans of light soil in a frostproof greenhouse or frame. They should be sown thinly so that the seedlings can remain undisturbed for two years. It is advisable not to dry off the seedlings entirely during the first year.
The usual method of propagation is by offsets which are produced freely by most kinds. These are removed when the plants are lifted and grown in pots or pans, until they reach the flowering size.
Globe and Star Tulips include: C. amabilis, fragrant, yellow; C. albus, white, with red-brown blotch; C. amoenus, rose-colored; C. monophyl· Ius, bright yellow; C. Maweanus, white, tinged purple; C. uniflorus, pale lilac.
Of these there are C. Greenei, lilac and yellow; C. Howellii, yellowish white; C. clavatus, yellow and brown; C. Vesta, white tinged lilac-purple; C. venustus (of which there are many varieties, notably citrinus, yellow and maroon; oculatus, white and purple; and roseus, white with rose-colored blotch) and C. Nuttallii (Sego Lily), white lined and blotched purple.