USA Official State Flower Official Utah State Flower

 

Sego Lily

(Calochortus nuttallii)
Adopted on March 18, 1911.

 

The sego lily , Calochortus nuttallii, was made the official state flower of Utah on March 18, 1911, when Senate Bill 225 was signed into law by Gov. William Spry (Utah Code 63-13-6). The bill was introduced by William N. Williams, according to Heart Throbs of the West (2:226), after a census was taken of the state's schoolchildren as to their preference for a state flower.

 

The sego lily grows six to eight inches high on open grass and sage rangelands in the Great Basin during the summer months. This member of the mariposa family typifies the lilies, with sepals, petals and stamens in the combinations of three with ivory-colored petals which may be tinted from yellow to pink. A horizontal bar of darker color crosses the base of each petal within the flower cup.

 

The flower is important to Utah not only for its beauty but because the bulbs were eaten by the early Mormon settlers during their first winter in the valley when food was scarce. The bulb, which is walnut-sized, was also eaten by the Indians before the Mormon settlers turned to it for sustenance and serves today as food for rodents and other animals.

 

Taxonomic Hierarchy
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 nuttallii Torr. & Gray – sego lily