Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fritillaria Folklore

I've never even heard of flowering bulbs called Fritillaria, have you? According to folklore, there is a tear inside each one because the flower refused to bow its head when Jesus passed on Good Friday. Gertrude Jekyll wrote that in the middle of each flower, the tear drop looked like a natural pearl, but was of a soft liquid substance. She described this flower as the most strange of all flowers.


Priscilla said...

This is one of my very favorite of all flowers. I first discovered them with I lived in England. I have planted them where I have lived. They are so unique. I never heard of the legend. I'm not much of a gardener, but have great respect for Miss Jekyll.

friendandfaux said...

If you have the opportunity, "Martha Stewart Living"
March 1998 pages 158-162 has a beautiful article on Fritillaria. That was my first introduction to a plant that has been cultivated since at least 1600. Thank you for the reminder of their charm. Deb

Willow said...

What a beautiful flower and story. I have never seen or heard of it before. Thanks for sharing.

Aurora Vanderbosch said...

The oddest thing is...yesterday I was at a nursery, and I said to the owner, "I don't suppose you have any fritillaria, do you?"

She didn't...and had never heard of it. I told her it was like an upside down tulip, only checkered. :)

fritillaria said...

I have heard of fritillaria. :)

And I love them. They are, in my opinion, some of the most magically complicated little creations of nature to ever grace this earth.

Especially the fritillaria meleagris that you have pictured above.

Karen said...

I've heard of it but never grown them. What a wonderful story surrounding this beautiful plant.

mytwocentsworth said...

I first discovered Fritillaria in early spring one year when I first visited Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home in Charlottesville, VA. They lined the path around the front lawn of the home. The checkered fritillaria meleagris I believe are rather small, but the fritillaria imperialis is a larger variety, comes in solid colors of red, yellow, etc. and stand, I believe, at least a foot to 18 inches tall. They put on a rather spectacular show.