The Crown Imperial, or Fritillaria impertalis, is supposed to be a native of Persia. There are many varieties; all hand-some, varying in color; viz., bright yellow, scarlet, orange scarlet, double red, double yellow, gold-striped-leaved, silver striped-leaved, etc. This species is less esteemed than its beauty merits, on account of its strong, and, to some, its disagreeable scent. It flowers in April; the bulb throws up a strong, vigorous stem, three or four feet high, producing near the top a crown of beautiful, drooping, bell-shaped flowers, making a very conspicuous object at a season when but few flowers grace the garden. Above the crown of flowers the stem terminates in a tuft of its glossy green foliage. The nectaries are very curious; each cell, six in number, contains a large drop, which looks like a brilliant pearl. When the flower decays, the seed-vessels take the reverse of the flower, and stand erect. The bulbs are large and fleshy, somewhat solid: they do not keep well long out of the ground. When the stem dies down, the root should be taken up and replanted, if necessary; but this need not be done oftener than once in four or five years. They should be planted four inches deep, in a rich, deep garden soil.
The Persian Fritillary or Persian Lily, (Fritillaria Persica,) bears a spike of brownish-purple flowers, growing at the top of the stem in the form of a pyramid; they open in May; stems three feet high; bulb similar to the last, except more elongated. To be treated in every way like the Crown Imperial.
The Common Fritillary, or Chequered Lily, (F. melegaris,) is sometimes called the Guinea Hen Flower, on account of its chequered or spotted flowers. There are many varieties; the colors, various shades of brown, purple, and yellow, curiously mottled, spotted or chequered. The bulbs are about the size of the crocus roots, of the character of the other fritillary bulbs, but more flattened; stems eight or ten inches high, with one or more gracefully-drooping, bell-shaped flowers, in April or May; to be planted in groups in good garden soil, two inches deep. They should not be kept long out of the ground.