One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A plant of the lily family, with brightly colored cup-shaped flowers, native to Mexico and the western US.Closely related to the sego
- ‘Other wildflowers interspersed among the grasses are tidy tips, red maids, Indian paintbrush, owl's clover, shooting-star, larkspur, golden star, mariposa lily, and johnny-jump-up.’
- ‘A stand of yellow mariposa lilies explodes below, while white Pieris butterflies flit just out of reach.’
- ‘Areas once graced by desert mariposa tulip, Rocky Mountain bee plant, prickly poppy and evening primrose were invaded by the hostile horehound.’
Mid 19th century: mariposa from Spanish, literally ‘butterfly’.
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