One of the most distinctive of bulbs is native mostly to California, the Mariposa tulip, Calochortus . Looking somewhat like a small tulip, but much more wildly marked (some contain every color imaginable including splotches of red, purple, yellow and brown) and often fringed or covered with hairs, these bulbs have fascinated gardeners at various times, especially earlier in the century when they were promoted by nurseryman Carl Purdy.
With many now endangered in the wild, and with a new interest in drought resistant plantings that often use natives, there is also a renewed interest in the calochortus and a small society has been formed. Their newsletter, naturally named "Mariposa," is just starting up and subscriptions will costs $2 a year for four issues. Write to Mariposa, 260 Alden Road, Hayward, Calif. 94541.