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White globe lily - Flower of the Forest in Big Basin State Park

Text by J. Zimmerman, Ph.D.
All photos (c) 2002-2012 Scott Peden, Photographer and Docent at Big Basin State Park
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J. Zimmerman's favorite wild flower of the Berry Creek Falls Loop Trail of the Big Basin State Park is White globe lily (Calochortus albus).

She especially likes it because the flower is spherical when it first blossoms and shows amazing rotational triple symmetry: each petal overlaps above one of its neighbors (as does the petal on the left below) and below its other neighbor.

Tinged slightly peach, this three-petaled globe-like flower hangs like a delicate lantern from a slender stem. It is one of the most beautiful flowers in this area. White globe lily new blossom by Scott Peden (Sequoia Trail):

White globe lily  closeup by Scott Peden

And in a spring rain:

White globe lily closeup by Scott Peden

For much of its life, the White globe lily is a silky spherical shell that insects crawl inside for nectar. As the flower matures, it opens, as in this frontal view of a blossom by Scott Peden:

White globe lily  opening by Scott Peden

Maturing White globe lily by Scott Peden (Sequoia Trail):

Maturing White globe lily by Scott Peden

White globe lily showing development of three-fold pods by Scott Peden:

White globe lily showing developement of three-fold pods by Scott Peden

See also these flowers of the redwoods