Snakeshead Fritillary Fritillaria meleagris




Scientific Name: Fritillaria meleagris (Liliaceae).


English Name: Snakeshead Fritillary (Lily family).


French Name: La Fritillaire pintade (='the guinea fowl fritillary').



5 Key Characters:
  • single flowers (occasionally 2) per stem.
  • flowers droop.
  • flowers have a pale pink and brownish-purple chequerboard pattern, and are shaped like an origami box (3-4 cm long).
  • grows in grassland that is flooded or very damp in winter.
  • leaves long and narrow, not very abundant (4-6), up the flower stem but no basal rosette.

Lookalikes: None.


Habitat: Meadows, especially those which are flooded in winter, usually along watercourses. Generally in full sun but shade tolerant.

Flowering Period: April-May.


Status: Rare but locally abundant. The bocage in the area where the Vienne and the Loire meet is one of this plants last strongholds. Thousands of plants flower here every spring. They can also be seen in the valleys of the Claise and Creuse rivers, and in the Brenne. Can be seen within 5 km of Preuilly sur Claise. Protected.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

Fritillaries growing in bocage pasture in the Véron (the triangle of land formed by the Vienne meeting the Loire River).
Growing in a roadside ditch between Le Petit Pressigny and Le Grand Pressigny.


Growing in a roadside ditch between Le Petit Pressigny and Le Grand Pressigny.

Growing on an island in the Indre River at Pont de Ruan.

Turned upside down to allow a view inside the flower.

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