Fritillaria imperialis

Botanical Name : Fritillaria imperialis
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Fritillaria
Species: F. imperialis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales

Common Names: Crown imperial, Imperial fritillary or Kaiser’s crown. The common names and also the epithet “imperialis,” literally “of the emperor,” refer to the large circle of golden flowers, reminiscent of an emperor’s crown.

Habitat: Fritillaria imperialis is native to a wide stretch from Anatolia and Iraq across the plateau of Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Himalayan foothills. It is also widely cultivated as an ornamental and reportedly naturalized in Austria, Sicily, and Washington State.

Description:
Fritillaria Imperialis is a species of flowering plant with very sturdy stem. It grows to about 1 m (3 ft) in height, and bears lance-shaped, glossy leaves at intervals along the stem. It bears lance-shaped, glossy leaves at intervals along the stem. At the top of the stem, the downward facing flowers are topped with 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 spring, accompanied by a distinctly foxy odour that repels mice, moles and other small animals. (Flowers: Fresh….The flowers smell of wet fur and garlic.)...CLICK &  SEE THE  PICTURES

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.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a moderately fertile soil. Prefers a heavy soil without any disturbance, not even hoeing. Requires a well-drained soil and a sunny position or the shade of deciduous trees or shrubs. Succeeds in drier soils and is drought tolerant once established. Plants succeed in most fertile soils, avoiding pure chalk, heavy clay and boggy sites. The dormant bulbs are very hardy and will withstand soil temperatures down to at least -10°c. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. The flowers smell of wet fur and garlic. Bulbs should be planted 10 – 12 cm deep in July on their side with sharp sand beneath them to ensure that they do not rot.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Protect from frost. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible and can take a year or more to germinate. Sow the seed quite thinly to avoid the need to prick out the seedlings. Once they have germinated, give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure that they do not suffer mineral deficiency. Once they die down at the end of their second growing season, divide up the small bulbs, planting 2 – 3 to an 8cm deep pot. Grow them on for at least another year in light shade in the greenhouse before planting them out whilst dormant. Division of offsets in August. The larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out in the autumn. Bulb scales.
Edible Uses: Root & bulb is cooked & eaten.A minor source of starch. Some caution is advised since there are reports of toxicity.
Medicinal Uses:
Diuretic; Emollient; Galactogogue; Resolvent.
The bulb is diuretic, emollient and resolvent
It is also a cardiac poison. It has been used as an expectorant and also to encourage increased breast milk production. The fresh plant contains the toxic alkaloid ‘imperialine’.
Known Hazards: The bulb is poisonous raw, it contains low concentrations of a toxic alkaloid.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
http://plants.for9.net/edible-and-medicinal-plants/fritillaria-imperialis/
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/lilcro22.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritillaria_imperialis

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