Sp. Pl. 1: 303. 1753.


Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 144. 1754.

Common names: Fritillary
Etymology: Latin, fritillus, checkered, alluding to the markings on the tepals of many species
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 164. Mentioned on page 15, 58, 173.

Herbs, perennial, bulbose; bulbs with 1–several large fleshy scales and 0–many small scales (often called rice-grain bulblets). Stem 1, erect, simple, absent in nonflowering individuals. Leaves alternate or whorled proximally in some species, sessile; blade linear to ± ovate; nonflowering individuals with single elliptical, ovate, or obovate “bulb-leaf.” Inflorescences loosely racemose, bracteate; bracts leaflike. Flowers 1–many, usually nodding, 3-merous; perianth hypogynous, campanulate or cupulate; tepals 6, in 2 similar whorls, distinct, nectaries present on all tepals, but better developed on inner ones; stamens 6, included; anthers adnate to filaments near middle; ovary superior, ± sessile; style unbranched or 3-branched. Fruits capsular, 3-locular, 6-angled or -winged, thin-walled, ± rounded, dehiscence loculicidal. Seeds many, in 2 rows per locule, yellowish to brownish, flat. x = 12, 13, often with chromosome fragments.


Northern Hemisphere.


Species ca. 100 (20 in the flora).

A number of Fritillaria species are grown as ornamentals, although North American species can be difficult to grow and many have not been tried. Most require well-drained soil, full sun, and no summer watering. Native Americans used the bulbs of various species as food, typically roasted, sometimes dried for later use.


1 Style unbranched or rarely with branches shorter than 1.5 mm; tepals never scarlet. > 2
1 Style obviously branched, branches longer than 1.5 mm; tepals sometimes scarlet. > 5
2 Tepals shorter than 2 cm or, if longer, then yellow to orange. > 3
2 Tepals 2 cm or longer, white to pink or pinkish purple. > 4
3 Leaves whorled proximally; tepals pinkish to purplish; s California. Fritillaria brandegeei
3 Leaves subopposite to scattered; tepals yellow to orange; n California to British Columbia, e to Wyoming. Fritillaria pudica
4 Tepals pinkish purple, obovate, apex rounded to acute, not recurved; flowers not noticeably fragrant; n California. Fritillaria pluriflora
4 Tepals white to pink, oblanceolate, apex acute to apiculate, usually recurved; flowers fragrant; s California. Fritillaria striata
5 Tepals red or scarlet, sometimes to maroon or purplish, clearly checkered or mottled, apex usually recurved, sometimes only spreading. > 6
5 Tepals sometimes mottled or rarely scarlet, but never both, apex not recurved, only rarely slightly recurved. > 7
6 Perianth slender; tepal apex usually strongly recurved, nectaries ¼ tepal length or less; style branches ± erect; n California, s Oregon, w Nevada. Fritillaria recurva
6 Perianth broadly campanulate; tepal apex spreading, not recurved, nectaries 1/2 tepal length; style branches widely spreading; s Oregon. Fritillaria gentneri
7 Leaves more than 10 or in whorls of 2–6(–9) per node proximally, blade linear to narrowly to broadly lanceolate to rarely ovate. > 8
7 Leaves 10 or fewer and/or alternate, blade sometimes sickle-shaped. > 15
8 Flowers ± erect, occasionally nodding; distal leaves usually ca. 1/3–1/2 length of proximalmost leaf; leaves often longer than inflorescence; only in California. Fritillaria pinetorum
8 Flowers nodding or occasionally spreading; distal leaves usually ± equaling proximalmost leaf; leaves usually shorter than inflorescence; more widespread. > 9
9 Tepals purplish brown, mottled yellow or white; leaves 2–3 per node proximally; 1000–3200 m, especially inland mountains. Fritillaria atropurpurea
9 Tepals greenish white, greenish yellow to red, purplish, or nearly black, mottled or not; leaves usually more than 3 per node proximally; 0–1800 m, especially in coastal mountains. > 10
10 Tepals dull greenish yellow, dark-dotted, nectaries widely elliptic to ± diamond-shaped, paler than tepals; s California. Fritillaria ojaiensis
10 Tepals greenish white, pale green or greenish yellow to red, purplish, or almost black, sometimes mottled, nectaries lanceolate or linear, variously colored; s California to Alaska. > 11
11 Tepals pale green to almost black, not mottled, nectaries ca. 1/2 tepal length, green; small bulb scales 0–4; s California. Fritillaria viridea
11 Tepals greenish white, pale greenish yellow to red, greenish brown to purplish, or pale yellowish green, sometimes mottled, nectaries variously colored, less than 1/2 tepal length (nearly equaling tepal length in F. camschatcensis, but very narrow and obscure; to 2/3 tepal length in F. affinis); small bulb scales usually 10 or more, rarely fewer; c California to Alaska. > 12
12 Tepals usually 2 cm or longer, often clearly purple- or yellow-mottled. > 13
12 Tepals usually shorter than 2 cm, mottling absent or faint. > 14
13 Tepals clearly purple- or yellow-mottled and small bulb scales 20 or fewer, or tepals not mottled and bulb scales 50 or more; nectaries lanceolate, to 2/3 tepal length; flower odor not unpleasant. Fritillaria affinis
13 Tepals dark greenish brown to brownish purple; small bulb scales 30 or more; nectaries obscure, linear, ± equaling tepal length; flower odor unpleasant. Fritillaria camschatcensis
14 Style branches barely recurved; tepals greenish yellow to red, apex usually flared to slightly recurved, nectaries green, gold, or yellow. Fritillaria eastwoodiae
14 Style branches strongly recurved; tepals purplish to greenish white, apex not flared or recurved, nectaries greenish white, dotted purple. Fritillaria micrantha
15 Tepals clearly mottled; small bulb scales usually 10 or more, rarely fewer. > 16
15 Tepals not clearly mottled; small bulb scales fewer than 10. > 19
16 Leaf blade sickle-shaped; flowers erect; San Francisco Bay region and s coastal mountains of California. Fritillaria falcata
16 Leaf blade usually not sickle-shaped; flowers usually horizontal or nodding, sometimes ± erect; not in San Francisco Bay region and s coastal mountains of California. > 17
17 Leaves 2–10, blade ovate, a few sometimes sickle-shaped; tepals white, spotted purple; small bulb scales 0–3. Fritillaria purdyi
17 Leaves usually 4 or more, blade linear to lanceolate; tepals purplish brown, mottled greenish yellow, yellow, or white; small bulb scales 45–50. > 18
18 Flowers nodding; distal leaves slightly less than or equaling proximalmost leaf, leaves usually shorter than inflorescence. Fritillaria atropurpurea
18 Flowers ± erect; distal leaves usually 1/3–1/2 length of proximalmost leaf; leaves longer than inflorescence. Fritillaria pinetorum
19 Leaves 2–4, blade sickle-shaped. Fritillaria glauca
19 Leaves usually more than 4, blade not sickle-shaped. > 20
20 Nectaries obscure, forming narrow band 1/2–2/3 tepal length; tepals white, striped green; flowers odorless or faintly fragrant; coastal. Fritillaria liliacea
20 Nectaries prominent, forming narrow band 2/3 to equaling tepal length; tepals brown, purplish brown, or greenish purple at least adaxially; flowers odorless or with unpleasant odor; inland. > 21
21 Tepals greenish white or yellow abaxially, purplish brown adaxially; flower odor definitely unpleasant; usually in clay depressions. Fritillaria agrestis
21 Tepals dark brown to greenish purple or yellowish green; flowers odorless or sometimes with unpleasant odor; usually on hillsides and mesas. Fritillaria biflora
... more about "Fritillaria"
Bryan Ness +
Linnaeus +
Fritillary +
Northern Hemisphere. +
Latin, fritillus, checkered, alluding to the markings on the tepals of many species +
Sp. Pl. +  and Gen. Pl. ed. +
1753 +  and 1754 +
beck1951a +, beetle1944a +, farrens1947a +, marchant1981a +, rix1975a +, santana1984a +, stapf1934a +, turner1983c +, turrill1950a +  and turrill1980a +
Fritillaria +
Liliaceae +