Fritillaria Imperialis a majestic plant for your garden
Did you know that the Fritillaria imperialis is an endemic plant of the Himalayas?
The genus Fritillaria consists of about one hundred species, sharing their botanical name fritillus with a butterfly. All of these species are found in the northern hemisphere and especially in areas around the Mediterranean. Only a limited number have been cultivated, but interest in this genus is growing.
The imperialis Fritillaria, has been the most well-known fritillaria species for years and is one of the species that was first cultivated. In the 16th century, this magnificent plant appeared in the Netherlands. There are rare illustrations of the Fritillary of 1610. The Imperial Crown or Lily of Persia was found in areas such as Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, and the western Himalayas. It is said to have been cultivated as a plant for food. Its bulb has poisonous properties when raw, but it is healthy when cooked.
There are two species of this beautiful plant, which have been named after traditional English-style gardens. These have pendant flowers that circle around the stem and have a leaf crown above the flowers. The orange Aurora variety that is both the oldest and the lemon yellow variety Lutea.
The Fritillary Imperialis is known in the Farsi language – a dialect of Iraq – under the name “the Virgin’s Tears”. Christian tradition states that of all the flowers only the proud imperial crown refused to tilt his head during the crucifixion. As a consequence, she has been crouching and lamenting ever since.
Fritillaria Imperialis can reach 1.5m high. Plant these bulbs early in the fall as soon as you buy them. This is necessary because the roots continue to grow even when the bulb is packed and this can cause damage during planting. The soil should be watered regularly and drained well. If you have heavy soil add some sand. If the plants find the right conditions they will continue to bloom year after year in the same place, especially in cold areas. However, sometimes a strain can grow without blooming. In this case, plant new bulbs in a different location, preferably between ground cover plants.