FRITILLARY (Fritillaria: from Lat. fritillus, a chess-board, so called from the chequered markings on the petals), a genus of hardy bulbous plants of the natural order Liliaceae, containing about 50 species widely distributed in the northern hemisphere. The genus is represented in Britain by the fritillary or snake's head, which occurs in moist meadows in the southern half of England, especially in Oxfordshire. A much larger plant is the crown imperial (F. imperialis), a native of western Asia and well known in gardens. This grows to a height of about 3 ft., the lower part of the stoutish stem being furnished with leaves, while near the top is developed a crown of large pendant flowers surmounted by a tuft of bright green leaves like those of the lower part of the stem, only smaller. The flowers are bell-shaped, yellow or red, and in some of the forms double. The plant grows freely in good garden soil, preferring a deep well-drained loam, and is all the better for a top-dressing of manure as it approaches the flowering stage. Strong clumps of five or six roots of one kind have a very fine effect. It is a very suitable subject for the back row in mixed flower borders, or for recesses in the front part of shrubbery borders. It flowers in April or early in May. There are a few named varieties, but the most generally grown are the single and double yellow, and the single and double red, the single red having also two variegated varieties, with the leaves striped respectively with white and yellow.
"Fritillary" is also the name of a kind of butterfly.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)