May to June
In the 1840s the bulbous root of the Sego Lily was eaten due to a crop-devouring plague.
The species of sego lily named “nuttalli” is named for Thomas Nuttall, a self-taught naturalist.
Did you know the bulbs of the Sego Lily helped Mormon pioneers throughout Utah survive? Crops were scarce due to a cricket infestation so settlers turned to digging up the bulbs of the Sego Lily in order to survive. Based on its historical meaning and value as well as its natural beauty, Utah legislature designated the Sego Lily as the floral emblem of the state.
A perennial, the state flower of Utah consists of three ivory colored petals that open in almost tulip-like fashion in May and June. Sego Lily petals are decorated with red or purplish crescent markings and yellow centers at the flower’s base. The flowers, which can be three inches across, grow on a single stem with green grass-like foliage.
The state flower of Utah grows throughout the state but is more prominent in Sagebrush foothills and valleys, like those in Great Basin than in the home gardens of Salt Lake, Provo and West Valley City. The Sego Lily flourishes in hot, dry conditions and sandy soil as well as near stands of ponderosa pine.
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