Towering through the Herbarium border is the bright flowered Fritillaria imperialis ‘Orange Beauty’. These “Crown Imperials” are members of the Liliaceae family. ‘The terminal head of flowers is topped by a whorl of leaves. The business end of the bulb is a scaly affair with as pungent an odour as the flowers have. A smell that will fill a closed down glasshouse overnight; when opened in the morning the smell is overpowering. The top of the bulb has a hollow depression which may catch water and then rot. To prevent this, plant on its side in well drained soil in a sunny open situation.
The wild collected species has a smaller flower with a muted red shade to the petals. Found growing on rocky banks of the Tragacanth Steppe near the roadside south of Shahrekord in the Zagros mountain range at 2279 metres. Companion vegetation consisted of Allium species, Tulipa, Acantholimon.
It does have the distinctive nectaries at the base of the tepals that stare out like white eyes. These are not often noticed with the flower held in descending form. Well worth gently lifting an individual bloom to appreciate this detail.
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