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Calochortus nuttallii Torr. & A. Gray

Sego lily

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassLiliidaeIncludes lilies, orchids, and many others
OrderLilialesIncludes lilies, tulips, trilliums, greenbriars, and others
FamilyLiliaceaeLilly family
GenusCalochortusDerived from the Greek word kallos for “beautiful” and chortus, “grass,” referring to the grassy leaves
SpeciesnuttalliiNamed for the Englishman Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), a botanist, ornithologist, curator of the Harvard Botanic Gardens, and author in 1816 of Genera of North American Plants

About plant names...

The sego lily is Utah's state flower.

Identification: Each lily has one to four flowers, each with three white petals. The petals sometimes have a purplish tinge. The stems are straight and bare. Flowers are about 1′ (30 cm) high.

Edibility: Sego lily bulbs, after removing their outer husks, are tasty raw and further improved by slow cooking; bulbs may also be dried and ground. Flowers and buds are also edible and can be added to salads. Their edibility was discovered (or rediscovered) during a cricket-induced food shortage in Utah between 1840-51, and sego lilies were later adopted as Utah's state flower.

Online References:

Wildflowers, Ferns & Trees of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah

Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants


The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


Utah State University



Calochortus nuttallii description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Calochortus nuttallii (sego lily)

5/21/2009 · Grand Canyon South Rim, Ari­zona · ≈ 6 × 4″ (15 × 10 cm)

Calochortus nuttallii (sego lily)

6/3/2009 · Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park, Utah · ≈ 5 × 3½″ (13 × 8.8 cm)

Calochortus nuttallii (sego lily)

6/3/2009 · Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park, Utah · ≈ 7 × 4½″ (17 × 11 cm)


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