The fritillary, also known as Fritillaria, is identified by its unusual diamond petal pattern which makes it a cheerful harbinger of spring.
Colours and shapes
The best-known fritillary is Fritillaria meleangris, with the snakeskin pattern on the petals that hang off the stems like eggs. Fritillaria persica is taller and more substantial, with a host of purple flowers at the top. F. imperialis, also known as Crown Imperial, has long stems crowned with strongly scented hanging flowers. Potted fritillaries will bloom quickly and radiantly in the warm climate indoors. That's thanks to the growers, who have already subject to the bulbs to the cold and warm period required to activate a bulb.
The scientific name Fritillaria comes from the Latin word ‘fritillus’, which means ‘dice cup’. This obviously refers to the shape the flowers and the chequered colour pattern that characterises many of the flowers. The plant has no known symbolism, but it doesn’t need it.
Fritillaria comprises a genus of 100 to 130 plants which is part of the lily family. The chequered snake’s head fritillary is native to Europe and western Asia. Other Fritillaria species can be found in the wild in the northern hemisphere: north-west Africa, Europe, the temperate regions of Asia, and western North America. The largest number of species occur in the Mediterranean area. Did you know that the fritillary is the national flower of Croatia?