Fritillaria imperialis

Fritillaria imperialis, the crown imperial, imperial fritillary, Kaiser's crown, or Kurdish tulip is a species of flowering plant in the lily family Liliaceae, native to a wide stretch from the Anatolian plateau of Turkey, Iraq and Iran (e.g. Kurdistan[2][3][4]) to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India and the Himalayan foothills.[5] It is also widely cultivated as an ornamental and reportedly naturalized in Austria, Sicily, and Washington State, USA.[6][5][7] 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.[8]

Fritillaria imperialis
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Subfamily: Lilioideae
Tribe: Lilieae
Genus: Fritillaria
F. imperialis
Binomial name
Fritillaria imperialis
  • Fritillaria aintabensis Post
  • Fritillaria corona-imperialis Panz.
  • Fritillaria corona-imperialis Gaertn.
  • Fritillaria imperialis var. longipetala auct.
  • Fritillaria imperialis var. maxima Eeden
  • Fritillaria imperialis var. rubra-maxima auct.
  • [Imperialis comosa Moench
  • Imperialis coronata Dum.Cours.
  • Imperialis superba Mirb.
  • Lilium persicum E.H.L.Krause
  • Petilium imperiale (L.) J.St.-Hil.
  • Petilium imperiale Jaume

Description edit

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.[8][9]

Owing to its large size, F. imperialis is pollinated by the Eurasian blue tit, which makes it a rare example of ornithophily at northern latitudes.[10]

Cultivation edit

The species[11] and the yellow-flowered 'Maximea Lutea'[12] have both gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[13] 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).[8]

Fritillaria imperialis is easy to grow in well-drained soil in a sunny site. The plant is dought tolerant, and bulbs should be planted in the early autumn. Note that bulbs do not like to be out in the air for long.

Taxonomy edit

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

Role in the culture of Iran edit

The flower has a long and deep connection with the history, religion, mythology and folklore of its native Iran and, as a result, has acquired a wealth of evocative vernacular names, often referencing the pendent form of the blossoms and the tear-like nectar drops borne by the six nectaries. In Iranian folklore the nodding flowers are described (in comparison with the upright flowers of tulips) as being 'upside-down', this curious posture being attributed to the plant's bowing its (originally upright) 'head' in sorrow upon the death of a mythological or religious personage. Likewise, the glistening drops of nectar at the base of each flower are described as the tears which the plant weeps in mourning the departed. Depictions of the distinctive inflorescences may be seen on the sculpted capitals of Sassanid columns, as at Taq-e Bostan. F. imperialis is linked to the legend of the tragic death of Siyâvash, (a semi-divine hero in Ferdowsi's prodigious national epic Shahnameh) - whence the common name Ashk-e Sivash ('Tear of Siyâvash').[14][15]

Gallery edit

References edit

  1. ^ The Plant List
  2. ^ Kiani, Mahmoud; Mohammadi, Shirin; Babaei, Alireza; Sefidkon, Fatemeh; Naghavi, Mohamad Reza; Ranjbar, Mojtaba; Razavi, Seyed Ali; Saeidi, Keramatollah; Jafari, Hadi; Asgari, Davoud; Potter, Daniel (2017-10-01). "Iran supports a great share of biodiversity and floristic endemism for Fritillaria spp. (Liliaceae): A review". Plant Diversity. 39 (5): 245–262. doi:10.1016/j.pld.2017.09.002. ISSN 2468-2659. PMC 6112302. PMID 30159518.
  3. ^ Pieroni, Andrea; Zahir, Hawre; Amin, Hawraz Ibrahim M.; Sõukand, Renata (2019-11-27). "Where tulips and crocuses are popular food snacks: Kurdish traditional foraging reveals traces of mobile pastoralism in Southern Iraqi Kurdistan". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 15 (1): 59. doi:10.1186/s13002-019-0341-0. ISSN 1746-4269. PMC 6882212. PMID 31775812.
  4. ^ Sharifi-Tehrani, M., Advay, M., & Shabani, L. (2015). "Fritillaria (Liliaceae) in Iran: distribution and Nomenclature". Taxonomy and Biosystematics. 22 (7): 49–70.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  6. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Meleagride imperiale, Fritillaria imperialis L.
  7. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  8. ^ a b c RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  9. ^ Linnaeus, Carl. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 303
  10. ^ Duthie, David (9 September 1989), "Bluetits pollinate the plants other creatures cannot reach", New Scientist, retrieved 16 April 2021
  11. ^ "Fritillaria imperialis". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Fritillaria imperialis 'Maximea Lutea'". RHS. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  13. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 39. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  14. ^ Retrieved at 12.10 on 16/6/21
  15. ^ Retrieved at 00.08 on 17/6/21