Crown Imperial

Fritillaria imperialis (Crown imperial or Kaiser’s crown) is a species of flowering plant of the genus Fritillaria, family Liliaceae, native to a wide stretch from Anatolia across the plateau of Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Himalayan foothills. It grows to about 1 m (3 ft) in height, and bears lance-shaped, glossy leaves at intervals along the stem. It bears a prominent whorl of downward facing flowers at the top of the stem, topped by a ‘crown’ of small leaves, hence the name. While the wild form is usually orange-red, various colours are found in cultivation, ranging from nearly a true scarlet through oranges to yellow. The pendulous flowers make a bold statement in the late spring garden; in the northern hemisphere, flowering takes place in late spring, accompanied by a distinctly foxy odour that repels mice, moles and other rodents.

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