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A picture of a Snake's Head Fritillary

Snake's Head Fritillary

Fritillaria meleagris

Also known as

Chequered Daffodil, Snake's Head, Guinea-Hen Flower, Chequer Lily, Chess Flower, Leper Lily, Lazarus Bells, Checkered lily, Guinea-head flower, Fritillary

Photo by AlanGardenMaster (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size








2 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Snake's Head Fritillary

A close up of some Fritillaria meleagris flowers in a field
A photo of Snake's Head Fritillary
A photo of Snake's Head Fritillary

Snake's Head Fritillary Overview

Fritillaria meleagris is a bulbous perennial species that typically grows to around 30cm tall, it produces lance-shaped, green-grey leaves and delicate nodding flowers. The flowers are produced early in spring, they have attractive checkered patterning, typically coloured white and purple. The plant's name 'fritillaria' comes from the Latin 'fritillus', meaning dice-box. This presumably refers to the unmistakable chequered/dotted pattern of the flower. This plant was often harvested from meadows in the United Kingdom to be sold for decoration at 16th & 17th Century markets. It is widely naturalised across the UK, however, it is not thought to be a true native species. It is the official flower of the Uppland region of Sweden, where it grows in large quantities every spring.

Common problems with Snake's Head Fritillary

Prone to slugs and lily beetle. Generally disease-free.

Snake's Head Fritillary Companion Plants

How to harvest Snake's Head Fritillary

Allow seed heads to dry on plants, then remove and collect seeds. Properly cleaned, seed can be stored in dry conditions.

How to propagate Snake's Head Fritillary


Sow into pots in a cold frame in autumn as it needs winter cold to initiate germination in spring. Plant 10cm+ apart.

Special features of Snake's Head Fritillary

Wet sites

Commonly found in meadows subject to winter flooding, as well as damp grasslands.

Attractive flowers

Other uses of Snake's Head Fritillary

Rock garden, border, wildflower/meadow


Grown as a spring flowering bulb.

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