Desert Mariposas

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More than 90% of the photos that I take are of fauna.  Every once in a while, however, I’ll photograph a plant, especially if it is unusually pretty or if it is something unique.

Today’s post is of a plant — the Desert Mariposa — that is both unique and unusually pretty.

Desert Mariposas are members of the lily family.  They grow from bulbs that are dormant most of the time — sometimes for years at a time.  They favor rocky slopes and hillsides and there are subspecies that come in a variety of colors.  Deep orange, as is the case with the Mariposas that I photographed, is among the the more common variations. When these plants bloom they send up stalks that are about six inches high.  Each plant sends up one or perhaps two stalks and each stalk is capped with a single flower that is about one inch in diameter.

I found these lilies growing at the crest of a hill in Sabino Canyon.  Their location is dry, rocky, and appears to be almost barren of plant life most of the time.  Relatively heavy winter rains undoubtedly triggered the lilies’ growth and blooms.

There were only five plants growing at this site.  I pass the site fairly often on my desert hikes.  The last time I saw Mariposas growing there was two years ago.  I never saw these lilies in the three years prior to that.  These plants’ appearance, plainly, is a relatively rare phenomenon in our desert and photographing them was well worth the effort.

Images made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180mm f3.5L Macro lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite and stabilized by monopod, M setting, ISO 160, f16 @ 1/160.

One response to “Desert Mariposas”

  1. Liesl Kii says :

    A rare and lovely find!

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