Calochortus flavus Schult.f.
Calochortus pallidus Schult.f.
Cyclobothra barbata (Kunth) D.Don
Cyclobothra flava (Schult.f.) Lindl.
Cyclobothra pallida (Schult.f.) Lindl.
Cyclobothra propinqua S.Schauer
Fritillaria barbata Kunth
Fritillaria biflora Sessé & Moc.
Fritillaria cuprea Graham
Calochortus barbatus is a herbaceous perennial plant producing a cluster of grass-like basal leaves from an underground bulb. A flowering stem up to 60cm tall is produced as the leaves wither.
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.
South-western N. America - Mexico from Chiahuahua in the north to Oaxaca in the south
Grassland, open oak and pine woods below 2,500 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Calochortus barbatus has a wide distribution through Mexico, growing at moderate elevations and experiencing both frost and snow. It is generally found in drier regions with hot summers. 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 bulb frame, though it is worth trying outdoors at the base of a south-facing wall, especially with shrubs that like these conditions[
]. It should not be crowded by other plants[
]. This species does well in a cold frame with the cover removed from March to October, it has been known to self-sow in such a situation[
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[
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[
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. The bulbs can be planted straight out into their permanent positions but in areas with wet winters it might be best to store them overwinter and replant them 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.