Tag Archives: mariposa

Plant of the day: Tiburon mariposa lily

These amazingly beautiful lilies are in full bloom on Ring Mountain right now–catch them before they are gone! Tiburon mariposa lilies (Calochortus tiburonensis) grow only on the Tiburon peninsula–where they weren’t discovered until 1971, and were listed as Federally threatened in 1995. It grows on Ring Mountain along with several other rare species that are associated with serpentine soils.

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This striking lily sprouts a handful of blooms (2-7) on a single stem with a single leaf. The blooms can be brownish, yellowish, or greenish with dense hairs on the inner surface of its three petals. Darker brown markings decorate flowers.

A good place to see these blooms is along the rocky slopes of the western fork of the Phyllis Ellman trail on Ring Mountain, near point-of-interest marker post #14 (this is the westernmost leg of the loop trail; the right-hand fork if you start from the Paradise Drive parking area).Calochortus_tiburonensis-7

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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.

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