Critically Imperiled (NatureServe)
Fritillaria gentneri, or Gentner's fritillary, is a rare member of Lily family (Liliaceae), that is endemic to southwest Oregon and adjacent Siskiyou County, California. Its habitat is dry, open woodlands and chaparral from 1000–5000 feet, where it blooms from March through July. However, most populations generally are done blooming by the end of May. As with most plants, the lower elevations bloom earliest with the bloom period moving up following elevation.
It was discovered by 18-year-old Laura Gentner in 1942 in rural Jackson County, Oregon. Dr. Helen M. Gilkey, curator of the herbarium of the Oregon State College, published it as a new species with Gentner as its namesake. In her paper published in Madroño in 1951 she distinguished it from the similar Fritillaria recurva: "As brilliant in color as F. recurva, the blossom of this new form is consistently of a different shade of red; its flowering period begins two weeks later; the plant is typically more robust..."
Gentner's fritillary grows to 50 to 70 centimeters, bears nodding reddish flowers checkered with yellow, tepals with reflexed tips, and glaucus stems with whorls of leaves. It can be distinguished from F. recurva by its spreading style, longer, more conspicuous glands, and generally not recurved tips of its tepals. There has been disagreement over the species status of this plant.
There is also some evidence that it may be a hybrid between Fritillaria affinis and Fritillaria recurva. For now, it is listed as a species in the Flora of North America, and the Manual of Higher Plants of Oregon.
It was listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1999. The city of Jacksonville has set aside over 300 acres (1.2 km2) of habitat for Gentner's fritillary and hosts a festival dedicated to the flower every April. The city maintains a system of hiking trails allowing visitors to enjoy the wildflowers.
There are 30 populations of the plant, 28 in Oregon and 2 over the border in California. The populations are very small, with some containing just a few individuals. There are no more than 1200 plants in total.
1. Robinett, Georgie. 2005. Gentner's fritillary: The discovery of a rare species. Kalmiopsis: Journal of the Native Plant Society of Oregon. 12: 37-43
2. Mullens L., and Showalter, R. 2007. Rare Plants of Southwest Oregon. BLM, USFS 134-135
- Calflora: Fritillaria gentneri (Gentner's fritillary)
- Jepson Manual
- Npsoregon.org: Species Profile
- Jacksonville Woodlands Association
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