Thứ Hai, 7 tháng 1, 2013


fritillaria lanceolata

Fritillaria lanceolata is a gorgeous piece of work native to the Pacific Northwest region from the California foothills to the open forests of Washington State. The flowers are a deep red/maroon mottled with fine yellow/green spots, which gives them a brownish appearance from a distance. Only when viewed from up close do you really get to appreciate the complicated and alien-seeming aspect of these beauties (aside from imperialis, it really is crucial that you get down on your belly and see fritillaria like the bugs do to fully appreciate them). So get down. You’ll be glad you did.
rice root
This diminutive bombshell of a Frit packs a kapow of strange allure figured against a field of whatever green thing you’ve got it planted amongst. Which is just to say, as understated as this Fritillaria is, don’t worry about upstaging lanceloata: it’s not going to happen.
The common names of “rice root,” and  “chocolate lily” come from use and appearance respectively: these Fritillaria were boiled and eaten by west coast Natives back in the day (that is, the prehistoric day). The flavor is said to resemble rice by those brave enough to try to simulate the bad old days. As for chocolate, Fritillaria are often referred to commonly as a lily (e.g. checkered lily), and the brownish coloration, seen from afar, or before the greenish spots pop, suggests a big fat bar of chocolate (to the hungry weary hiker perhaps).
fritillaria lanceolata
The flowers bloom staring in early spring and are a real treat (i.e. rare) as the plant has become increasingly threatened thanks to unrepentant logging and mining.
After blooming, the seed pods set, and dry, and disperse the flat, deltoid seeds as the bulb goes dormant.
It’s near impossible to find Fritillaria lanceolata for sale anywhere on the Internet, but Dave’s Garden has a section devoted to plant trades. You can sometimes find this frit there.

fritillaria michailovskyi

Fritillaria michailovskyi is one of the cuter smaller frits, but it packs a good punchy odor in those little flowers, and for that reason it’s one of my favorites.
The michailovskyi flower is pendant and bell-shaped, with thick, long-lasting waxy petals that can range in color from a purple so dark as to be almost black to a rather pale burgundy. The leaves are delicate blades of approximately the same height as the flower stalks.
The biggest challenge to this flower is getting to know it: it’s short, so seeing inside the pendant flowers requires either a.) taking a cutting, or b.) getting down on your belly. I’m not averse to either, but I say getting down there is the better option, as I’m of the opinion that this fritillaria is best appreciated in the ground rather than in a vase. It’s a modest beauty, not a show-stopper, and so if you are going to bring it inside I recommend making it an accent rather than a centerpiece.
Fritillaria michailovskyi was introduced into popular cultivation in the sixties and gradually became one of the favorite fritillaries, most likely due to it’s dramatic color.
The bulb and flower both give off that famous musky fritillaria odor some call foxy. Some love this scent, some hate it. It is certainly far from a perfume.
fritillaria michailovskyi stats:
zones: 4a to 8a
exposure: full sun
native to: Turkey
height: 4 – 8 in.
spacing: 4-8 in.
Ph: 6.1 – 7.8
blooms: mid-April to early May
scent: foxy
good for: rock gardens, bed edges. plant in bunches.

it’s peak fritillaria time in my neck of the woods

I’m near Detroit, zone 6a, and right now all my fritillaries are blooming or near-to-blooming.
Blooming now: fritillaria meleagris, fritillaria michailovskyi, and fritillaria pontica.
Near-to-blooming: fritillaria imperialis, fritillaria persica and persica ‘ivory bells’, fritillaria pallidiflora, and fritillaria assyriaca.
Which is to say, I’ve got a good lot of frits popping or about to pop, which is to say, I’m in fritillaria heaven.
It’s a good start to a decent collection, but there are soooo many more varieties that I’m aching to get my dirty little mitts on. After looking around a bit, I think I’m going to throw a good chunk of money at Potterton’s Nursery this autumn. They’re not cheap, and I’m not super excited about having them shipped from the UK, but they have a wider assortment of fritillaria than I’ve seen anywhere else.
Anyone else know of a great place to get the rarer fritillaria varieties?

Fritillaria affinis

Fritillaria affinis is a dark and seductive beauty native to N. America. You can stumble upon them walking the low mountains and foothills from California to British Columbia. Look for them in scrub or thickets near the coast. And if you find any, send me some!
checkered lily chocolate lily

a couple images of fritillaria imperialis in its native habitat

Fritillaria imperialis is native to the area stretching from eastern Iran to the Himalayan foothills at the western edge. These two images, taken in those very foothills, show imperialis growing like gangbusters. It’s always so satisfying to see something we struggle to grow in the midwest zone 6a thriving in its natural habitat.

fritillaria messanensis

One of the tougher-to-find fritillaries out there. It hails from the Mediterranean and graces any garden or woodland with hanging bells of checkered brown and green with a green stripe down the center of each petal. Fritillaria messanensis blooms in mid-March to early April.fritillariafritillaries

Fritillaria imperialis

The Crown imperial or Kaiser’s Crown (Fritillaria imperialis) is a member of the genus Fritillaria, family Liliaceae.
It is native to a wide stretch from Anatolia across the plateau of Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Himalayan foothills. It is one of the earliest plants to be cultivated. It grows to about 1 meter (3 feet) in height, and bears lance shaped, glossy leaves, at intervals along the stem. It bears a prominent whorl of downward facing flowers at the top of the stem., topped by a ‘crown’ of small leaves, hence the name. While the wild form is usually orange-red, various colours are found in cultivation, ranging from nearly a true scarlet through oranges to yellow. The pendulous flowers make a bold statement in the late spring garden ; in the northern hemisphere, flowering takes place in late April or May, accompanied by a distinctly foxy odour that repels mice, moles, and other rodents.
Due to the way that the bulb is formed, with the stem emerging from a depression, it is best to plant it on its side, to prevent water causing rot at the top of the bulb.[1] Fritillaria imperialis requires full sun for best growth, and sandy, well-drained soil for permanence. After flowering and complete drying of the leaves, the stems should be cut off just above the ground.
fritillaria imperialis

More about Fritillaria meleagris

They are also known as Guinea Hen Flowers because the checkerboard pattern resembles the patterning on guinea hens, for which reason the species name meleagris means guinea fowl. The genus name means “Dicing Box” & it is easy to imagine a wicker-woven dicebox with just such an appearance as these dangling flowers.
Another name occasionally attached to it is Snake’s Head Frittillary or Snakehead Lily, because the blossom, before the bud is fully opened, reminds some of a striking cobra. It was sometimes associated with death, & Vita Sackville-West declared it to be “a sinister little flower, in the mournful colour of decay.” This is certainly not what I see in it, but those who imagined this flower to be serpenty & sinister lent it such common names as Deathbell, Madam Ugly, Widow’s Veil, Snakeflower, Toadheads, Weeping Frits, Sullen Ladies, Drooping Tulips, & other such downcast-sounding titles.
They were also formerly called Lazarus Bells again associated with death, or Leopard Lilies, but these names were corruptions of Lazar’s Bells or Lepers’ Lilies, because the shape & markings of the flowers were suggestive of leprosy, while the overall shape of the flower was reminscent of the bells attached to the clothing of beggar-lepers to announce their arrival or warn of their presence. This antique association with lepers & leprosy would seem to be the half-remembered reason for their association with death, since there’s nothing in their beautiful appearance that would otherwise explain mistaking them for sinister.
As one of the longest-cultivated fritillaries, it was a regular feature in Elizabethan gardens. They were formerly known as Narcissus caperonius or Caperon’s Narcissus because they were first brought to England in 1572 by a druggist named Noel Caperon who found them in France. Caperon was afterward a victim of the St. Bartholomew Day Massacre in 1578. For many years thereafter they were thought originally to have been native primarily of France, but were eventually discovered to be a rare species native also to England.
The checkered lily was once in fact native of damp meadows throughout Northwestern Europe, but is today disappearing over much of its natural range from habitat loss & humanity’s population intrusions. It became endangered in England, where children picked them before they could complete their reproductive cycle. It is now protected & making a slow comeback in the south of England. And it will never be extinct for as long as people love them in gardens.

fritillaria fun facts

Fritillaria is a genus of about 100 species of bulbous plants in the family Liliaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The name is derived from the Latin term for a dice-box (fritillus), and probably refers to the checkered pattern, frequently of chocolate-brown and greenish yellow, that is common to many species’ flowers. Collectively, the genus is known in English as fritillaries; some North American species are called missionbells.
They often have nodding, bell- or cup-shaped flowers, and the majority are spring-flowering. Most species’ flowers have a rather disagreeable scent, often referred to as “foxy,” like feces or wet fur. The Scarlet Lily Beetle (Lilioceris lilii) eats fritillaries, and may become a pest where these plants are grown in gardens.
Several species (such as F. cirrhosa and F. verticillata) are used in traditional Chinese cough remedies. They are listed as chuān bèi (Chinese: 川貝) or zhè bèi (Chinese: 浙貝), respectively, and are often in formulations combined with extracts of Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica). F. verticillata bulbs are also traded as bèi mǔ or, in Kampō, baimo (Chinese/Kanji: 貝母, Katakana: バイモ). F. thunbergii is contained in the standardized Chinese herbal preparation HealthGuard T18, taken against hyperthyroidism.
Most fritillaries contain poisonous alkaloids such as imperialin; some may even be deadly if ingested in quantity. But the bulbs of a few species – e.g. Checker Lily (F. affinis) or Yellow Fritillary (F. pudica) – are edible if prepared correctly. They are not generally eaten in large amounts however, and their edibility is therefore still somewhat debatable.

fritillaria meleagris

One of my first fritillary loves…
Fritillaria meleagris
When Oscar Wilde speaks of “the diapered fritillary,’ he means the little Checkered Lily (Fritillaria meleagris), for “diapered” is a very old traditional term for either a checkered pattern or the pattern known as “harlequin” or a checkerboard of diamonds.
By the last week of March or the first week of April the Checkered Lilies are poking up their bizarre checkerboard flowers, adding a bit of oddity to such early spring flowers as muscaris, early daffodils, & squill.

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