Product Profile: Fritillaries

Written by Rona Wheeldon
April 27, 2015

This month, we're going to take a look at a spring flower which appears to be having a renaissance lately...the fritillary. With natural, informal floral designs being 'on trend' at the moment, these distinctive blooms are a wonderful addition to this particular style of arrangement.

Burgundy Fritillaria meleagris at New Covent Garden Flower Market - April 2015


From the Liliaceae family, the name Fritillaria is derived from the Latin word 'fritillus' meaning dice-box, many of which used to be chequered.

Fritillaries, as cut flowers, are usually available from February to May, with the peak season being April and May. Many come into the Market from Holland, with some of them being grown in Israel.

Fritillaria meleagris plants are generally available from Christmas through to March.



Fritillaria meleagris

The species name 'meleagris' comes from the Latin for guineafowl, the speckled markings of which the flower resembles. And the common name is snake's head fritillary.

Fritillaria meleagris has nodding bell-shaped flowers at the top of its short stems. And its petals are chequered, and burgundy and white.


Burgundy Fritillaria meleagris at New Covent Garden Flower Market - April 2015


White Fritillaria meleagris at New Covent Garden Flower Market - April 2015


Mixed Fritillaria meleagris at New Covent Garden Flower Market - April 2015

Fritillaria persica

Fritillaria persica, or Persian lily, as it's sometimes known, has tall spires of conical maroon and green flowers.

Maroon and green Fritillaria persica at New Covent Garden Flower Market - April 2015

Fritillaria acmopetala

Fritillaria acmopetala has bell-shaped flowers, which are pale green and tinged purple on the inner tepals.

Pale green and purple Fritillaria acmopetala at New Covent Garden Flower Market - April 2015

Fritillaria imperialis 'Orange Beauty’'

Fritillaria imperialis 'Orange Beauty' has bell-shaped orange flowers, beneath a crown of bracts.

'Orange Beauty' Fritillaria imperialis at New Covent Garden Flower Market - April 2015


Fritillaria meleagris

Burgundy and green Fritillaria meleagris plant at New Covent Garden Flower Market - April 2015

General Advice

As cut flowers, most fritillaries are sold in bunches of ten stems. However, Fritillaria persica are sold in bunches of five stems.

Here's Dean at Quality Plants, who sells potted Fritillaria meleagris. They're generally sold six pots to a tray.

Dean at Quality Plants with potted Fritillaria meleagris at New Covent Garden Flower Market - April 2015

Be aware that certain species of Fritillaria have flowers that emit an unpleasant scent. In particular, Fritillaria imperialis. So, they're best used in spaces where people will not be close enough to smell the musky blossoms.

Design Inspiration

Fritillaria meleagris are perfect for small designs like posies for a spring bride or bridesmaid, buttonholes and corsages. They also look fabulous arranged on their own, grouped in an array of assorted vintage glass bottles.

As they're larger, Fritillaria persica are ideal for vase designs and can add fabulous movement to arrangements.

Here are some examples of beautiful floral designs featuring fritillaries...

Mary Jane Vaughan fritillary design

(Source: Mary Jane Vaughan)

Rebel Rebel fritillary design

(Source: Rebel Rebel)

The Flower Bird fritillary design

(Source: The Flower Bird)

Scarlet & Violet fritillary design

(Source: Scarlet & Violet)

Your Designs

We'd love to see photos of arrangements that you've made using fritillaries from New Covent Garden Flower Market. Simply send an email to, stating your company name and website address. Or if you prefer, you could post your photo on Twitter and copy us in, by including @MarketFlowers in your tweet. We'll then upload your photos into this section.

Sophie Townsend's fritillary table decoration

(Source:Sophie Townsend)


I hope you've enjoyed reading this month's Product Profile Report. Please do ask away below if you have any questions or would like to make any general comments. As always, we'd love to hear from you.

P.S. Did you know that Fritillaria meleagris is the county flower of Oxfordshire?


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