Fritillaria L

Bulbous herbs, with a more or less leafy stem, and one or more rather large drooping flowers in a terminal raceme. Perianth bell-shaped, with distinct segments as in Tulip, but the 3 inner segments have a nectariferous cavity at their base. Stamens inserted at the base of the perianth; the anthers being attached a little above their base. Capsule 3-celled, with several rather flat horizontal seeds in each cell, as in Tulip.

About 50 species inhabit the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, being found in Europe, Asia, and North America. They might be more cultivated, for many are both handsome and early flowering.

Fritillaria Delphinensis Gren

Stem 8-12 inches high, leafy above, naked below. Leaves 4-8, broadly lanceolate, flat, erect, alternate. Flower large, purple, obscurely spotted, 1 1/2 inch long. Perianth-segments connivant, concave, the interior segments being oval-elliptic and rounded. Capsule obovate.

High pastures in the Alps; local. May to July.

Distribution

Savoy, Dauphiny, Provence, Corsica, Northern Italy, Tyrol.

Fritillaria Meleagris L. Common Fritillary

Stem about a foot high, with 3 or 4 linear, thick, channelled leaves, and a single terminal drooping flower (rarely two), dull red, spotted with purple and yellowish white, or rarely white with greenish spots.

Damp meadows, but scarcely attaining the sub-alpine region of Switzerland or France. April.

Distribution

Most of Europe, from France to the Caucasus and northwards to England and Scandinavia.

Veratrum L

Rootstock creeping. Stems tall, robust, leafy. Leaves oval, with very strong nerves. Flowers in branched panicles. Capsule of 3 carpels united, many-seeded. Acrid and poisonous herbs.

Veratrum Album L

Stem simple, 2-3 feet high, erect, robust, leafy, covered below with pubescent leaf-sheaths, thickened to a bulb at the base, scaly or somewhat floccose like the flower-stalks, with large sessile leaves regularly creased at the base, and bearing a paniculate inflorescence. Leaves entire, creased, veined, sealed on long sheaths, glabrous above, downy beneath, the lower ones oval, obtuse, the uppermost lanceolate, acute. Flowers numerous, greenish white, in large panicles. Perianth-segments longer than the flower-stalks.

Abundant in grassy Alpine and sub-alpine pastures. July to September; up to 8200 feet.

Distribution

Carpathians, Riesengebirge; Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Jura, Vosges, Cevennes, Pyrenees, Caucasus, Siberia, Japan.

The leaves resemble those of Gentiana lutea, and both plants are avoided by the cattle and the mowers.

Veratrum Nigrum L

Flowers very dark red or purplish, smaller than the last. Perianth-segments as long as the pedicels.

Alpine and sub-alpine meadows and pastures; rare. July, August.

Distribution

Tessin (Monte Generoso), Eastern Alps, Maritime Alps, Eastern Europe, Western and Northern Asia.