Calochortus ambiguus – Doubting Mariposa Lily

Calochortus ambiguus - Doubting Mariposa Lily

Calochortus ambiguus - Doubting Mariposa Lily

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Calochortus ambiguus

Synonym: Calochortus watsonii var. ambiguus

Common Name: Doubting Mariposa Lily

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Upland, Mountain. It is typically found growing in grassy areas where it is not conspicuous until it blooms.

Flower Color: White, Grayish, Violet, Pink

Flowering Season: Spring

Height: To 2 feet (61 cm) tall

Description: The flowers are 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter and have 3 petals with round or crescent-shaped depressed petal glands and usually dark purple anthers. The leaves are green, linear, and grasslike. The stems are upright and branched.

There are a number of similar species of Mariposa Lily here, but this is the most common and widespread one. Unlike the Doubting Mariposa Lily, the similar Winding Mariposa Lily (Calochortus flexuosus) has trailing stems, while Gunnison's Mariposa Lily (C. gunnisonii) has hairier petals, and Sego Lily (C. nuttallii) has less branched stems and paler anthers.

Special Characteristics

Legal StatusProtected Native Plant (Salvage Restricted)


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Subclass: Liliidae
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae – Lily family
Genus: Calochortus Pursh – mariposa lily
Species: Calochortus ambiguus (M.E. Jones) Ownbey – doubting mariposa lily

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map
Doubting Mariposa Lily (Calochortus ambiguus) – The Firefly Forest