Calochortus elegans Baker
Calochortus galei Peck
Calochortus glaucus Regel
Calochortus maweanus major Purdy
Calochortus maweanus roseus Purdy
Calochortus purdyi Eastw.
Common Name: Tolmie Startulip
Calochortus tolmiei is a herbaceous perennial plant producing a cluster of persistent, grass-like basal leaves 10 - 40cm long from an underground bulb. A flowering stem 10 - 40cm long is produced[
The plant was a traditional food of the native N. Americans and often eaten in quantity. It is grown as an ornamental, valued for its attractive flowers.
Western N. America - Washington, Oregon, California.
Dry, usually rocky, soils on brushy slopes[
]. Open grassy slopes and stony places in montane coniferous forests, often on poor, dry soils; at elevations from near sea level to 2,200 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Calochortus tolmiei is native to semi-arid climates in western N. America, growing in freely draining soils. Whilst being very cold hardy, it can be a rather difficult plant to cultivate in moister temperate climates, being very intolerant of wetness especially when dormant.
Requires a deep very well-drained fertile sandy soil in a sunny position and must be kept dry over winter[
]. In moist climates it is usually easier to grow this species in a good, very gritty soil in sun or semi-shade in a bulb frame, though it is worth trying outdoors at the base of a south-facing wall, especially with shrubs that like these conditions[
Bulbs can be lifted as soon as the foliage dies down in the summer and stored overwinter in a cool dry place, replanting in spring[
]. Another report says that they should be replanted immediately[
Bulbs frequently divide after flowering, the bulblets taking 2 years to reach flowering size[
When grown in cultivation, hand pollination is usually necessary if seed is required[
Bulb - raw or cooked[
]. A sweet flavour, it can be baked or boiled like potatoes[
Seed - sow as soon as ripe or early spring in a cold frame in a very sharply draining medium. Stratification may be helpful. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 6 months at 15°c[
]. Leave the seedlings undisturbed for their first two years growth[
], but give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure they do not become nutrient deficient. It is quite difficult to get the seedlings through their first period of dormancy since it is all too easy either to dry them out completely or keep them too moist when they will rot[
]. After their second year of growth, pot up the dormant bulbs in late summer and grow them on for at least another 2 years in the greenhouse before trying them outside. Seedlings take about 5 - 7 years to come into flower[
Division of the bulbs as soon as the foliage dies down. One report says that the bulbs must be planted into their permanent positions immediately[
], whilst another says that they can be stored overwinter and replanted in the spring[
Stem bulbils, harvested from the stems after flowering[
]. They can be stored cool and dry then planted in pots in the cold frame in the spring.