Plants usually bulbose; bulb coat, when present, membranous. Stems usually not branching or twisted, straight, 1.5-4.5 dm. Leaves: blade linear, becoming involute; basal withering. Inflorescences subumbellate, 1-4-flowered; bracts congested, unequal. Flowers erect; perianth open, campanulate; sepals marked similar to petals, usually shorter, lanceolate, glabrous, apex acuminate; petals white, tinged with lilac or infrequently magenta, yellow at base, with reddish brown or purple band or blotch distal to gland, broadly obovate, cuneate, sparsely invested near gland with slender hairs, apex usually short-acuminate; glands round, depressed, surrounded by conspicuously fringed membrane, densely covered with short, unbranched or distally branching hairs; filaments ca. equaling anthers; anthers yellowish or pinkish, oblong, apex obtuse. Capsules erect, linear-lanceoloid, 3-angled, apex acuminate. Seeds flat. 2n = 16.
Flowering late spring--late summer. Dry soils; 700--3300 m; Ariz., Colo., Idaho, Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.Mex., N.Dak., S.Dak., Utah, Wyo.
FNA 2002, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial from a bulb, stems straight 15-45 cm tall, often producing bulblets in lower leaf axils. Leaves: Linear, becoming involute, withering basally, alternate, 2-4 mm wide, 10-20 cm long. Flowers: Subumbellate inflorescences, 1-4 flowered, flowers erect, perianth open, campanulate, subtended by 2-3 leafy bracts, 3 lanceolate sepals marked similar to petals, usually shorter, with an acuminate apex; petals white, tinged with lilac or magenta, yellow at base with reddish brown or purple band or blotch, broadly obovate; glands round, depressed, surrounded by conspicuously fringed membrane of slender yellow hairs that are unbranched or forked at tips; anthers with blunt tips, yellowish or pinkish. Fruits: Erect, linear-lanceoloid capsule, 3-angled, with an acuminate apex, 3-5 cm long. Ecology: Found on dry slopes and flats from 4,500-8,000 ft (1372-2438 m); flowers May-July. Notes: The circular elongate gland surrounded by the yellowish, often forked hairs, blunt-tipped anthers, an the potential of bulblets in the lower axils help to distinguish this species. Ethnobotany: The bulbs were dried and preserved for winter use, eaten raw, roasted, peeled and then eaten, and the flower was used ceremonially. Etymology: Calochortus is Greek, meaning beautiful herb, while nuttallii is named for the English botanist Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859). Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010