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Vascular Plants of California
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Calochortus luteus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: LiliaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Common Name: LILY FAMILY
Habit: Perennial herb from membranous bulb or scaly rhizome. Stem: underground or erect, branched or not. Leaf: basal or cauline, alternate, subopposite, or whorled. Inflorescence: raceme, panicle, +- umbel-like or not. Flower: perianth parts 6 in 2 generally petal-like whorls, often showy; stamens 3 or 6, filaments free or +- fused to perianth, anthers attached at base or near middle; ovary superior or +- so, style 1, entire or 3-lobed. Fruit: capsule or berry. Seed: 3--many, flat or angled, brown to black.
Genera In Family: 16 genera, 635 species: northern temperate. Note: Users strongly encouraged to protect plants by working around need to see underground parts in using keys, e.g., by trying both leads in couplets solely dependent on such characters. Muscari botryoides (L.) Mill. an historical waif in California. Other TJM (1993) taxa moved to Agavaceae (Agave, Camassia, Chlorogalum, Hastingsia, Hesperocallis, Hesperoyucca, Leucocrinum, Yucca), Alliaceae (Allium, Ipheion, Nothoscordum), Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis, Narcissus, Pancratium), Asparagaceae (Asparagus), Asphodelaceae (Aloe, Asphodelus, Kniphofia), Melanthiaceae (Pseudotrillium, Stenanthium, Toxicoscordion, Trillium, Veratrum, Xerophyllum), Nartheciaceae (Narthecium), Ruscaceae (Maianthemum, Nolina), Smilacaceae (Smilax), Tecophilaeaceae (Odontostomum), Themidaceae (Androstephium, Bloomeria, Brodiaea, Dichelostemma, Muilla, Triteleia), and Tofieldiaceae (Triantha). North American species of Disporum now in Prosartes.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dale W. McNeal, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Dale W. McNeal, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: CalochortusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Bulb coat generally membranous, occasionally fibrous. Stem: scapose or leafy, generally erect, generally branched, bulblets in axils of lower leaves or 0. Leaf: generally linear to lanceolate; basal leaf 1, persistent or not; cauline leaves 0--several, occasionally appearing basal, generally smaller upward, withering or not. Inflorescence: often +- umbel-like; flowers 2--many; bracts 0--several, generally opposite, often paired. Flower: perianth +- closed, spheric to oblong, or open, bell-shaped or +- rotate; sepals generally < petals, generally +- lanceolate (ovate), generally +- glabrous; petals generally widely wedge-shaped, occasionally clawed, generally hairy adaxially, nectary near base; stamens 6, filaments +- flat, often dilated at base, anthers generally attached at base or appearing so; style 1, stigmas 3. Fruit: capsule, septicidal; oblong or linear, generally 3-angled or -winged, chambers 3. Seed: many in 2 rows per chamber, flat, generally +- tan or +- yellow, translucent, or irregular dark brown, often net-like.
Species In Genus: +- 67 species: western North America, Central America; many cultivated. Etymology: (Greek: beautiful grass) Note: Bulbs of some eaten by Native Americans. Many taxa variable, difficult to key.
eFlora Treatment Author: Peggy L. Fiedler
Unabridged Reference: Patterson & Givnish 2003 New Phytologist 161:253--264
Calochortus luteus Lindl.
Stem: 20--50 cm, slender, bulblets present. Leaf: basal 10--20 cm, narrowly linear, withering. Inflorescence: +- umbel-like; flowers 1--7, erect; bracts 1--8 cm. Flower: perianth bell-shaped; sepals 20--30 mm, lanceolate, long acuminate; petals 20--40 mm, deep yellow, generally lined red-brown adaxially, often with central red-brown blotch adaxially, sparsely slender-hairy near nectary, nectary not depressed, +- crescent-shaped to oblong, densely matted-short-hairy; filaments 7--9 mm, anthers 4--6 mm, linear-oblong, white to light yellow. Fruit: erect, 3--6 cm, narrowly lanceolate, angled, tip long-tapered. Seed: flat, tan or light yellow, net-like. Chromosomes: 2n=14,20,21.
Ecology: Heavy soils in grassland, woodland, mixed-evergreen forest; Elevation: < 700 m. Bioregional Distribution: c&s NW, CaR, SNF, GV, CW, n ChI; Distribution Outside California: southwestern Oregon. Flowering Time: Apr--Jun Note: Hybridizes with Calochortus superbus. Flowers highly variable.
Unabridged Note: Interior plants generally n=7; coastal plants generally n=10.
Jepson eFlora Author: Peggy L. Fiedler
Unabridged Reference: Patterson & Givnish 2003 New Phytologist 161:253--264
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Botanical illustration including Calochortus luteus

botanical illustration including Calochortus luteus


Citation for this treatment: Peggy L. Fiedler 2012, Calochortus luteus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 13, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 13, 2018.

Calochortus luteus
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Calochortus luteus
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© 2010 Neal Kramer
Calochortus luteus
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© 2016 Neal Kramer
Calochortus luteus
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© 2006 George W. Hartwell
Calochortus luteus
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Calochortus luteus
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© 2011 Chris Winchell

More photos of Calochortus luteus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Calochortus luteus:
c&s NW, CaR, SNF, GV, CW, n ChI;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.