Tag Archives: calochortus

Plant of the day: pussy ears

Here’s another Calochortus to go with yesterday’s star tulip. You can see there is a very strong family resemblance! You also can see where this flower got its name, with such heavily furred ear-shaped petals.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pussy ears (Calochortus tolmiei) is the only pale-colored Calochortus (cream or pinkish) in Marin that is NOT listed as a rare species. It is a beloved woodland sight, growing under mixed the spreading boughs of oaks or in redwood forest or even among the small scrubby trunks of chaparral. Even though it is more common, it’s always a treat because of its delicate and distinctive look. You can tell it’s in the lily family, since its petals are in groups of three. Plus, the three broad petals alternate with very long and very narrow sepals, which is the signature look of  most Calochortus.

Leave a comment

Filed under Native, Plant of the day

Plant of the day: Oakland star tulip

The mariposa lilies are a treat, every one. I was happy to come across an Oakland star tulip, also known as Oakland mariposa lily (Calochortus umbellatus) on Pine Mountain the other day. It can be distinguished from its more common cousin, pussy ears (calochortus tomeii) because it’s petals are only hairy on the lower half, not all the way up. The rocky gaps between clumps of chaparral along the Pine Mountain fire road are an ideal place to find this low-growing lily, which likes nutrient-poor serpentine soils and rocky slopes. It’s worth noting that it can also be found growing under the trees or shrub canopy on moist hillsides, though. Oakland mariposa lily is listed as a rare plant in California because of its limited distribution – it’s mostly found in the Bay Area.

Leave a comment

Filed under Native, Plant of the day