Habit: checker lily or sometimes called chocolate lily begin rising from the soil near the end of winter and can reach over 2 ft. (60 cm.) tall. The leaves on flower producing individuals are linear and slender in slight whorls climbing the flower stalk. These leaves differ greatly from the large basal leaves of the plants that aren’t mature enough to produce flowers. Flowers open between April and May. The mottled maroon/yellow tepals nod elegantly, until after pollination when the fruit begins to form, straightening out the flower stalk.
Ecology: found growing below 5900 ft (1800 m) in dry forests, or open meadows in the Pacific Coast States, north into Canada.
Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade, prefers drier soils, and can survive in a xeric garden.
Fritillaria affinis is also sometimes called, “rice root fritillary”, referring to it’s nature to reproduce vegetatively through bulbs and many bulblets, which look similar to fat grains of rice.
**Illustration by Aislinn Adams2010