Botanical Name: Fritillaria Meleagris
Species: F. meleagris
Synonyms-: Lilium variegatum. Chequered Daffodil. Narcissus Caparonius. Turkey Hen. Ginny Flower.
Common Names: Snake’s head fritillary, Snake’s head (the original English name), Chess flower, Frog-cup, Guinea-hen flower, Guinea flower, Leper lily (because its shape resembled the bell once carried by lepers), Lazarus bell, Chequered lily, Chequered daffodil, Drooping tulip or, in northern Europe, simply Fritillary.
Habitat : Fritillaria meleagris is native to Europe and western Asia but in many places it is an endangered species that is rarely found in the wild but is commonly grown in gardens. In Croatia, the flower is known as kockavica and is associated by some with the country’s national symbol. It is the official flower of the Swedish province of Uppland, where it grows in large quantities every spring at the meadows in Kungsängen (Kings meadow), just outside Uppsala, which gives the flower its Swedish name, kungsängslilja (Lily of Kings meadow). It is also found for example in Sandemar Nature Reserve, a nature reserve west of Dalarö in Stockholm Archipelago.
The flower has a chequered pattern in shades of purple, or is sometimes pure white. It flowers from March to May and grows between 15–40 cm (6–16 in) in height Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet, Bloom Time: April. The flowers are checkered reddish-brown, purple, white, gray. The plant has a button-shaped bulb, about 2 cm in diameter, containing poisonous alkaloids. It grows in grasslands in damp soils and river meadows at altitudes up to 800 m (2,625 ft)....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Now easily available as an ornamental spring bulb for the garden, it is commonly sold as a mixture of different coloured cultivars. The pure white-flowered variety F. meleagris var. unicolor subvar. alba has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.
It is said that Fritillaria Meleagris have no medicinal value, though from its presence on the elaborate allegorical frontispiece of the old Herbal of Clusius, Rariorum Plantarum Historia, published in 1601, it bore at that time a reputation as a herb of healing.
Known Hazards: The bulb is poisonous and very distasteful to the palate.
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