Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Calochortus kennedyi, Desert Mariposa Lily

Calochortus kennedyi, Desert Mariposa LilyCalochortus kennedyi, Desert Mariposa LilyCalochortus kennedyi, Desert Mariposa Lily

Scientific Name: Calochortus kennedyi
Common Name: Desert Mariposa Lily
Also Called: Desert Mariposa, Flame Mariposa, Red Mariposa Lily (Spanish: Cobena Amarilla)
Family: Liliaceae or Lily Family
Synonyms: ()
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Usually about 8 inches more or less; (up to 18 inches).
Growth Form: Forb/herb; stems usually twisted, spring growth from bulb.
Leaves: Green; basal, withering throughout the season, leaves linear, grass-like.
Flower Color: Red, reddish-orange and rarely yellow; large attractive flowers, flowers 1 to 6, flowers erect, bell shaped (campanulate), fruits erect, capsule.
Flowering Season: March to May.
Elevation: Up to 5,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Open desert and mid-elevation areas, alkaline soils, rocky hillsides and pinyon-juniper communities.

Recorded Range: Desert Mariposa, a southwestern desert species is found primarily in the Arizona and California with populations also in southern Nevada and southern Utah. Desert Mariposa is also native to northern Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Calochortus kennedyi.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.

Threatened/Endangered Information: Calochortus kennedyi var. kennedyi, Desert Mariposa Lily and Calochortus kennedyi var. munzii, Desert Mariposa Lily are protected native species in Arizona.

Genus Information:Over 50 species in Calochortus in western United States and Canada. 6 species in Arizona, 44 in California and 5 in New Mexico. The Plant List includes 74 scientific plant names of species rank for the genus Calochortus. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

2 varieties in Calochortus kennedyi;
Calochortus kennedyi var. kennedyi, Desert Mariposa Lily (Range Recorded above);
Calochortus kennedyi var. munzii, Desert Mariposa Lily (California only).

Comments: Desert Mariposa is a Sonoran and Mojave desert species preferring lower elevation habitats than other Mariposas in the southwest. Truly a beautiful species.

Also see in Southwest Desert Flora; Doubting Mariposa Lily, Calochortus ambiguus, Gunnison's Mariposa Lily, Calochortus gunnisonii and Sego Lily, Calochortus nuttallii.

Date Profile Completed: 10/30/2015, updated format 09/27/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
P. L. Fiedler & R. K. Zebell | Family List | Liliaceae | Calochortus, FNA Vol. 26 Page 121, 135, 138, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 10/30/2015).
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 10/29/2015).
1993,The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 10/30/2015),8461,8482
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 10/30/2105]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information