Snakeshead Fritillary

Fritillaria meleagris

Fritillaria meleagris is a bulbous perennial species that typically grows to around 30cm tall, it produces lance-shaped, green-grey leaves and delicate nodding flowers. The flowers are produced early in spring, they have attractive checkered patterning, typically coloured white and purple. The plant's name 'fritillaria' comes from the Latin 'fritillus', meaning dice-box. This presumably refers to the unmistakable chequered/dotted pattern of the flower. This plant was often harvested from meadows in the United Kingdom to be sold for decoration at 16th & 17th Century markets. It is widely naturalised across the UK, however, it is not thought to be a true native species. It is the official flower of the Uppland region of Sweden, where it grows in large quantities every spring.
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Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Spring

Fruiting time

Autumn

Harvesting

Allow seed heads to dry on plants, then remove and collect seeds. Properly cleaned, seed can be stored in dry conditions.

Propagation

Seed

Sow into pots in a cold frame in autumn as it needs winter cold to initiate germination in spring. Plant 10cm+ apart.

Special features

Wet sites
Attractive flowers

Special features

Origin

Europe & Western Asia.

Natural climate

Temperate

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Frost hardiness

Half-Hardy

Uses

Ornamental

Grown as a spring flowering bulb.

Personality

Family

Liliaceae

Flower colour

Purples, Pink, White

Scent

Mild

Problems

Prone to slugs and lily beetle. Generally disease-free.
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Knowledge and advice

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