Fritillaria imperialis

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Fritillaria imperialis
لاله واژگون در کوه دنا.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Fritillaria
F. imperialis
Binomial name
Fritillaria imperialis

Fritillaria imperialis, the crown imperial, imperial fritillary or Kaiser's crown, is a species of flowering plant in the lily family, native to a wide stretch from Kurdistan across the plateau of Turkey, Iraq and Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India and the Himalayan foothills.[2] It is also widely cultivated as an ornamental and reportedly naturalized in Austria, Sicily, and Washington State, USA.[3][2][4] The common names and also the epithet "imperialis", literally "of the emperor", refer to the large circle of golden flowers, reminiscent of an emperor's crown.[5]


Fritillaria Imperialis in Dena, Iran
Fritillaria Imperialis in Dena, Iran

Fritillaria imperialis 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 small animals.[5][6]


Due to the way that the bulb is formed, with the stem emerging from a depression, it is best to plant it on its side, to prevent water causing rot at the top of the bulb.[7] Fritillaria imperialis requires full sun for best growth, and sandy, well-drained soil for permanence. After flowering and complete drying of the leaves, the stems should be cut off just above the ground.

The species[8] and the yellow-flowered 'Maximea Lutea' [9] have both gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[10] Other cultivars in shades of red, yellow and orange, are available.

Like other members of the lily family, F. imperialis is susceptible to depredation by the scarlet lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii).[5]


A few names have been coined for taxa once considered as belonging to Fritillaria imperialis but now regarded as distinct species:

Crown imperial plain, Fars, Iran



  1. ^ The Plant List
  2. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Meleagride imperiale, Fritillaria imperialis L.
  4. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  5. ^ a b c RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
  6. ^ Linnaeus, Carl. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 303
  7. ^ [1] BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) Plant Finder, Crown imperial
  8. ^ "Fritillaria imperialis". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  9. ^ "Fritillaria imperialis 'Maximea Lutea'". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  10. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 39. Retrieved 27 February 2018.