KS Wild Side: Rare lilies bloom in Ashland’s backyard

KS Wild stewards who attended the 2021 Mariposa Preserve Stewardship Day celebrate victory after weeding invasive plants. Allee Gustafson photo
April 22, 2022

Volunteers can help at the Mariposa Lily Botanical Area

By Allee Gustafson

Did you know that two species of rare and endangered lilies grow throughout the public lands outside Ashland?

Pretty cool, huh?!

Allee Gustafson

The Klamath-Siskiyou region of northern California and southern Oregon is a world-renowned hub of biodiversity. An estimated 3,500 vascular plant species can be found here and 280 of those are found nowhere else in the world! Among the rarest is the Fritillaria gentneri, also known as the Gentner’s fritillary. Known for its downward pointed, showy red and yellow checkerboard petals, this species of lily can be found blooming throughout the month of April in low-elevation, dry, open woodlands. Jacksonville, Oregon has even hosted a festival specifically for this special flower where visitors enjoy its beauty in its protected environment throughout an established trail system!

Another rare flower you’ll find in the Klamath-Siskiyou unique to this region is the Calochortus greenei, also known as Green’s Mariposa Lily. This lily only grows in the mountainous forests of southern Oregon’s Jackson County and northern California’s Siskiyou County. Blooming in the summer months of June through August, you can identify this flower by its clusters of purple bell-shaped flowers held up by three light purple petals at its base.

The colorful, showy petals of the Gentner’s fritillary add a pop of red color to the forest floor. Howard Erbe photo

Stewardship Events at the Mariposa Preserve

May 14: Willow planting day

June 22: Star thistle weed pull

October TBD: Native seed dispersal day

To catch a glimpse of the rare Green’s Mariposa Lily in bloom, you can visit the Mariposa Preserve in the early summer around mid-June to the beginning of July. It’s just a short drive south from Ashland to the 222-acre Mariposa Botanical Area, a designated conservation area that lies within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The botanical area was first acquired in 1993 through a unique land exchange between The Nature Conservancy and cooperative ranchers in the Rogue Valley, and it now serves to protect the rare endemic species of flora like the Green’s Mariposa Lily. In addition to supporting habitat for the lily, the protected area also provides year-round habitat for fauna like blacktail deer and a small elk herd.

Want to get involved in protecting this biological treasure? KS Wild has partnered with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the last seven years at the Mariposa Lily Botanical Area to work collaboratively toward a grassland restoration research project in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Hosting three separate stewardship events, the collective goals of the project include retention of stream water by planting willow cuttings, removing invasive species threatening the viability of the endemic plant species, and seeding the plots with a combination of native seed types. If retaining our region’s special biodiversity is important to you, and you would like to get involved with us, sign up for one or more of these stewardship events at kswild.org/events. If you want to stay informed about upcoming stewardship opportunities with KS Wild, sign up for our volunteer list at kswild.org/volunteer.

KS Wild Side appears every month and features a staff member from KS Wild, a regional conservation organization based in Ashland. Allee Gustafson is community organizer for KS Wild. For more information, go to kswild.org.

The delicate Green’s Mariposa Lily flower rests atop the three purple petals at its base. John L. Thompson photo

Share this article

Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.
oregon-cabaret-in-the-heights

Latest posts

SOU awards its highest honor to former Guanajuato governor and his wife

Southern Oregon University President Rick Bailey presented SOU’s highest honor on Monday in Guanajuato to two prominent supporters of the university exchange program between SOU and the University of Guanajuato. An SOU delegation and about 200 guests representing wide segments of the Guanajuato community looked on as the awards were presented to Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, holder of two master’s degrees earned at SOU before he embarked on a distinguished political career in Mexico, and his wife, Francis “Faffie” Romero Siekman, a prime mover behind a scholarship program supporting student exchanges.

Read More >

Ashland Fire & Rescue warns of intensified wildfire seasons

Ashland Fire & Rescue has warned of more intense fire seasons in years to come as local impacts of climate change become more apparent. Division Chief Chris Chambers told the City Council Tuesday, Aug. 2, that coming fire seasons could see an increase in acres burned of between 200 and 400 percent.

Read More >

Birds’-Eye View: An Ashland-based bird conservation organization

Birds’-Eye View: Ashland-based nonprofit Klamath Bird Observatory keeps on eye on bird life in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California. Since birds are a key indicator species and migratory paths from much of the Western Hemisphere pass through this area, KBO data helps inform natural resource management on a broad scale.

Read More >

One Hiroshima survivor nurtures seedling sprouted from another survivor

The 77th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, was marked in Ashland for the 38th year on Saturday. A capacity crowd gathered at Thalden Pavilion, site of an eternal World Peace Flame, to hear remarks and celebrate the planting of a gingko tree sprouted from seeds from a tree that survived the Hiroshima inferno.

Read More >
Peter-Sage Ashland Oregon

Explore More...

SOU awards its highest honor to former Guanajuato governor and his wife

Southern Oregon University President Rick Bailey presented SOU’s highest honor on Monday in Guanajuato to two prominent supporters of the university exchange program between SOU and the University of Guanajuato. An SOU delegation and about 200 guests representing wide segments of the Guanajuato community looked on as the awards were presented to Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, holder of two master’s degrees earned at SOU before he embarked on a distinguished political career in Mexico, and his wife, Francis “Faffie” Romero Siekman, a prime mover behind a scholarship program supporting student exchanges.

Read More>
ashland.news logo

Subscribe to the newsletter and get local news sent directly to your inbox.

(It’s free)