Tuesday, 2 August 2011
By an act of the Utah State Legislature, approved on March 18, 1911, the sego lily was declared to be the State floral emblem (Utah Code). Kate C. Snow, President of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, in a letter dated April 17, 1930, says that "between 1840 and 1851" food became very scarce in Utah due to a crop-devouring plague of crickets, and that "the families were put on rations, and during this time they learned to dig for and to eat the soft, bulbous root of the sego lily. The memory of this use, quite as much as the natural beauty of the flower, caused it to be selected in after years by the Legislature as the floral emblem of the State." The sego lily was made the official state flower after a census was taken of the state's school children as to their preference for a state flower. The sego lily, Calochortus nuttalli, has white, lilac, or yellow flowers and grows six to eight inches high on open grass and sage rangelands in the Great Basin during the summer months.