Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 14: 265. 1879.
Plants usually bulbose; bulb coat, when present, membranous. Stems slender or coarse, stout, branching or not, strongly flexuous, 3–10 dm. Leaves: basal withering, 1–2 dm; blade linear. Inflorescences subumbellate, 1–6-flowered; bracts 4–8 cm, bases dilated. Flowers erect; perianth open, cup-shaped; sepals usually with red-brown blotch at base, lanceolate-ovate, 2–4 cm, apex acute; petals lemon to golden yellow, with transverse line distal to gland, broadly cuneate to obovate, 3–5 cm; glands round, deeply depressed, densely covered with short hairs with branching, coralline tips, surrounded by conspicuously fringed membrane and club-shaped hairs; filaments ca. 10 mm; anthers purplish brown, oblong, 4–10 mm. Capsules erect, lanceoloid-linear, angled, 6–9 cm, apex acuminate. Seeds light yellow, translucent, flat. 2n = 16.
Varieties 5 (5 in the flora).
|1||Petals shorter than sepals; petal glands very deeply depressed.||Calochortus clavatus var. avius|
|1||Petals longer than sepals; petal glands shallowly to moderately depressed.||> 2|
|2||Stems straight, slender, usually 3 dm or shorter.||> 2|
|2||Stems flexuous, coarse, usually 5–10 dm.||> 3|
|3||Petals 3–4 cm, sparsely bearded; leaves not recurved.||Calochortus clavatus var. gracilis|
|3||Petals 4–5 cm, bearded; leaves strongly recurved.||Calochortus clavatus var. recurvifolius|
|4||Petals deep yellow, hairs very knobby; anthers deep purple.||Calochortus clavatus var. clavatus|
|4||Petals light yellow, hairs not very knobby; anthers yellow to medium purple.||Calochortus clavatus var. pallidus|