Interesting Plant: Fritillaria meleagris (Snake’s head fritillary/Guinea Hen Flower)

Interesting Plant: Fritillaria meleagris (Snake’s head fritillary/Guinea Hen Flower)

Fritillaria meleagris MichaD.jpg
By Michael ApelOwn work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Fritillaria meleagris is a Eurasian species of flowering plant in the lily family.[2][3][4] Its common names include snake’s head fritillarysnake’s head (the original English name), chess flowerfrog-cupguinea-hen flowerguinea flowerleper lily (because its shape resembled the bell once carried by lepers), Lazarus bellchequered lilychequered daffodildrooping tulip or, in northern Europe, simply fritillary.[5] The plant is native to the flood river plains of Europe where it grows in abundance.[6]

The name Fritillaria comes from the Latin fritillus meaning dice-box, possibly referring to the chequered pattern on the flowers[7] although this derivation has been disputed.[8] The name meleagris means “spotted like a guineafowl“.[9] The common name “snake’s head” probably refers to the somewhat snakelike appearance of the nodding flower heads, especially when in bud, on their long stems. Vita Sackville-West called it “a sinister little flower, in the mournful colour of decay”.[8]  Wikipedia

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Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

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