Utah State Flower
The sego lily was adopted as the Utah State Flower in 1911. The bulbous perennial was chosen for its natural beauty as well as its historical significance. Native Americans considered the sego lily a sacred plant and developed culinary uses for its bulbs, seeds, and flowers. Many tribes created a healthful porridge from roasted or boiled sego lily bulbs, which are similar in shape to a radish. Brigham Young, who led Mormon pioneers to the western United States, declared the sego lily “a heaven sent source of food.” Friendly Native Americans taught Mormon settlers how to harvest and prepare the bulbs for much needed survival food when a devastating cricket infestation destroyed crops.
The sego lily once saved lives, and now it helps teach Utah residents to save water. Sego Lily Gardens is an educational center in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City. The gardens are open to the public and benefit from the support of local volunteers, including boy scouts, girl scouts, and church members. Visitors learn ways to conserve water while creating beautiful and water-wise landscapes.
Sego Lily Facts
Name: Sego Lily
Botanical Name: Calochortus nuttalli
Colors: White or Lavender, with Yellow stamens
Blooms: May to July
Fun Facts: Unlike many other Lilies the Sego Lily is edible. In fact during the period covering 1840-1850 there was a famine in Utah, and many families relied on the bulb of the Sego Lily for food.
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