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Fritillaria imperialis - L.
Common Name Crown Imperial, Imperial fritillary, Crown Imperial Fritillary
Family Liliaceae
USDA hardiness 7-9
Known Hazards The bulb is poisonous raw[4, 114], it contains low concentrations of a toxic alkaloid[163, 240].
Habitats Cliffs, rocky slopes and amongst scrub, 1000 - 3000 metres in Turkey[90]. On humus rich soils, usually in gullies and shaded sides of large rocks, 1800 - 2600 metres in Kashmir[145].
Range W. Asia - W. Himalayas, Turkey and Iran.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Bloom Color: Orange,Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Upright or erect.

Fritillaria imperialis Crown Imperial, Imperial fritillary, Crown Imperial Fritillary

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:KhamtranFritillaria meleagris
Fritillaria imperialis Crown Imperial, Imperial fritillary, Crown Imperial Fritillary
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of bulb
Fritillaria imperialis is a BULB growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.3 m (1ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Root.
Edible Uses:

Bulb - cooked[114]. A minor source of starch[4, 105, 177]. Some caution is advised since there are reports of toxicity.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Diuretic;  Emollient;  Galactogogue;  Resolvent.

The bulb is diuretic, emollient and resolvent[240]. It is also a cardiac poison[240]. It has been used as an expectorant and also to encourage increased breast milk production[254]. The fresh plant contains the toxic alkaloid 'imperialine'[240].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Massing, Seashore, Specimen, Woodland garden. Easily grown in a moderately fertile soil[90]. Prefers a heavy soil without any disturbance, not even hoeing[1, 42]. Requires a well-drained soil and a sunny position[42, 90, 200] or the shade of deciduous trees or shrubs[90]. Succeeds in drier soils and is drought tolerant once established[190]. Plants succeed in most fertile soils, avoiding pure chalk, heavy clay and boggy sites[233]. The dormant bulbs are very hardy and will withstand soil temperatures down to at least -10°c[214]. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties[233]. The flowers smell of wet fur and garlic[245]. Bulbs should be planted 10 - 12 cm deep in July[1] on their side with sharp sand beneath them to ensure that they do not rot[42, 200]. Special Features: Attractive foliage.
Seed - best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring[1]. Protect from frost[134]. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible and can take a year or more to germinate[134]. Sow the seed quite thinly to avoid the need to prick out the seedlings. Once they have germinated, give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure that they do not suffer mineral deficiency. Once they die down at the end of their second growing season, divide up the small bulbs, planting 2 - 3 to an 8cm deep pot. Grow them on for at least another year in light shade in the greenhouse before planting them out whilst dormant. Division of offsets in August[1]. The larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out in the autumn. Bulb scales[163].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Fritillaria affinisChocolate Lily, Checker lily30
Fritillaria atropurpureaPurple Fritillary, Spotted fritillary21
Fritillaria camschatcensisKamchatka Lily, Kamchatka fritillary40
Fritillaria cirrhosaChuan Bei Mu23
Fritillaria meleagrisSnakehead Fritillary, Chequered lily, Checkered Fritillary01
Fritillaria pallidifloraPale-Flowered Fritillary03
Fritillaria pudicaYellow Fritillary30
Fritillaria roylei 02
Fritillaria sewerzowii 01
Fritillaria thunbergiiZhe Bei Mu23
Fritillaria verticillata 23


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Readers comment
sarah hurley   Sun Mar 2 2008
Have grown these bulbs for 40 years, splitting clumps occasionally and had 150 blooms one year. This year no yellow ones, and only a few orange, rest blind. Help would be appreciated. Sarah Hurley
sophie dixon   Sun Sep 28 2008
I live in Zone 5, can the bulbs be stored indoors during the winter, and any suggestions for storage. Thank you
david nicholls   Mon Sep 29 2008
According to the "Botanica" (a book) Fritillaria imperialis is suited to zones 4-9 (zone 4 is -34 to -29 Celcius or -30 to -20 F). So it should be ok outside, I'd experiment with some of them outside. It is even possible it won't like being stored inside since it's upper favored level is zone 9, still below freezing in winter. I have no personal experience with this particular plant.
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Subject : Fritillaria imperialis  

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