Stems slender, not branching, 1-3 dm. Leaves: basal usually persistent, 1-2 dm; blade linear. Inflorescences subumbellate, 1-4-flowered; bracts paired, 3-8 cm. Flowers erect; perianth open, campanulate; sepals lanceolate, 2-3 cm, apex acuminate; petals lavender, with longitudinal median abaxial green stripe, with or without blotches, broadly cuneate to obovate, 3-4 cm, with a few short hairs near gland; glands round, depressed, surrounded by conspicuously fringed membrane, densely covered with short, distally branching hairs; filaments 6-8 mm; anthers red-brown, oblong, 7-10 mm, apex obtuse. Capsules erect, brown, lanceoloid-linear, 3-angled, 2-3 cm. Seeds light beige, translucent, flat.
Flowering spring. Grassy meadows in shadscale scrub; 1200--2000 m; Calif.
Calochortus excavatus is found only in the eastern Sierra Nevada in Mono and Inyo counties. It is threatened by groundwater depletion.