Fritillaria or the checkered lily doesn’t seem very plant-like.  It hasn’t the natural swirls and twirls of many things organic, but rather a geometric pattern, like someone has placed a stencil over the petals and shaded in those little squares.  Squares???   Where else in the botanical world do we see squares? There are lots of dots and spots, splashes and dashes, solids and stripes, but I can’t think of another square. Please comment if you know of one!  This intriguing flower blooms in the spring from a bulb and forms a nice clump over time, as seen in the photo above.  Our native fritillarias are also known as rice root.  The Native Americans ate the bulblets steamed.  They were said to be tender and delicate, resembling rice and having a slightly bitter after taste. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest by Pojar and MacKinnon)

Just The Facts
Fritillaria meleagris   Checkered Lily
USDA Zones 3-8
Native to Western Europe
Grows up to one foot (.3m)
Blooms in April; brown, purple or white
Full Sun to Part Shade, Keep moist during growing season
Deer Resistant, Will naturalize

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