Habit: pretty face is a perennial that starts from a corm (a bulb-like underground stem) and hugs the ground with arches of elongated, basal leaves (up to 19 inches in length). Coming across its little yellow flowers atop a dainty umbel structure is a delight for the eyes. The funnel-shaped blossoms are formed by 6 straw-yellow tepals with contrasting dark purple midveins. An erect, forked corolla emerges from the center of the tepals, from which 6 stamens, 3 tall and 3 short project upwards. The genus name Triteleia means 3 complete, referring to the plant’s reproductive parts. The leaves wither fast, usually by the time the flowers are in bloom from May to July.
Ecology: Triteleia ixioides grows in a variety of habitats, including sagebrush-steppe, oak lands and coniferous forests. It is common from low elevations to sub-alpine zones, up to 9’000 feet. This species is native to southern Oregon and central and northern California.
Growing conditions: rich, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in sunny locations. Pretty face is drought-tolerant and easy to care for. During the summer, it should be allowed to dry out. The corms of this species are edible and rich in starch content. When cooked, they should taste like potatoes. Triteleia ixioides is also known as golden stars and as Cook’s triteleia.