This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
1. Snake's-head Fritillary (Fritillaria Meleagris, L.). 2. Reed-mace (Typha latifolia, L.). 3. Bur-reed (Sparganium ramosum, Curt.). 4. Sweet Flag (Acorns Calamus, L.). 5. Duckweed (Lemna minor, L.). 6. Water Plantain (Alisma Plantago-aquatica, L.).
The flowers are solitary, and last five days, being erect in bud, then drooping, egg-shaped, pyramidal, bell-shaped. The nectary with concealed honey is a narrow green gland at the base of the petal, which causes an external protuberance. The corolla is swollen below, and bears the stamens at its base, with awl-like anther-stalks. They are twice as long as the pistil, and bear oblong, yellow or greenish anthers, which after they have opened are half as long, and then lie on a level with the stigma. The 3 styles are furrowed and downy, thickened, and spreading. The stigmas are softly hairy and simple. It is thus adapted for insect visits, and in their absence to self-pollination. The plant is protero-gynous, the stigma ripening first.
The fruit, a capsule, contains many seeds, and splits open, distributing them close to the parent plant The plant is a sand plant, growing in sand soil or sandy loam, the alluvium of most valleys.
Fritillaria, Lobel, is from the Latin fri-tillus, a dice-box, from the shape of the flowerhead. Meleagris, Dodonaeus, is Greek for guinea-fowl, from the chequered pattern of the corolla.
Names by which the Fritillary is known include Dead Man's Bell, Chequered Daffodil, Chequered Lily or Tulip, Cowslip, Crow-cup, Daffodil, Deith-bell, Drooping Tulip, Fritillary, Frits, Froccup, Guinea-hen Flower, Lazarus Bell, Leopard's Pheasant, Snake's-head Lily, Snake Flower, Snowdrop, Toads-head, Weeping Willow, Widow Wail. Lazarus Bell was originally Lazar's Bell, and the flower was so called from the small bell the lazar wore on his person. Leopard's Lily is doubtless Leper's Lily, and both from the chequered appearance also. It was called Death Bell from the dingy, sad colour of the flowers. The name Drooping Tulip is from the habit it has of drooping and its likeness to a tulip. Froccup is Frog Cup from its spotted flowers, and Guinea-hen Flower from the marking of the flower. It is called Snake's-head Lily from the shape of the flower and the spotted petals. It is an ornamental plant which is cultivated and grown in grardens.
Photo. Dr. Somerville Hastings - Snake's-head Fritillary (Fritillaria Meleagris, L.)
Essential Specific Characters:303. Fritillaria Meleagris, L. - Flowering stem a scape with single flowers, leaves linear-lanceolate, flowers purple, chequered, campanulate, drooping.