Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Snake's Head Shaped Enchanting Flower

Like a snake's head rising up, the bell-shaped flowers of Fritillaria meleagris make their entrance. Having just been enforced winter’s constraint, the scurrying about the garden every morning, blissfully happy at greeting each new bud or blossom. One of the more enchanting and one could possibly say addictive species is Fritillaria in their many forms and colors.

Fritillaria is a genus of approximately 100 species of bulbous plants, native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Most often, they have nodding, bell- or cup-shaped flowers, most of which are spring-flowering.

Of this group, one of the easiest to grow is Fritillaria meleagris, also known variously as snake’s head (its original English name), checkered lily (common American name), rattlesnake lily, Guinea-hen flower, frog-cup, leper lily, turkey hen, chequered lily, ginny flower, chequered daffodil, and whew just plain fritillary.

The pretty, pendant blossom has a square, checker-board-type pattern of reddish-brown, purple, white and gray coloration and a mix of these bulbs generally also sports white (cream) and pale yellow, though the latter coloration doesn’t show up very often. Inside, the stamens are shocking yellow.

In the slightest breeze, the large single to multiple blooms dance on delicately thin gray-green stems and from a distance, these intriguing blossoms appear as if suspended above the ground.