This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
Of the many species of Fritillary known, the Crown Imperial (F. imperialis) seems to be the only one grown at all extensively for market purposes. It is often grown in market gardens between rows of fruit trees and bushes, and as it requires no attention, once planted, it comes in as a useful catch crop in early summer. The large bulbs emit a terrible stench, but the plants are nevertheless ornamental in appearance, and especially when bearing the large drooping bell-shaped flowers near the summit of the tall, fleshy stems clothed with glossy, green wavy leaves. Besides the ordinary yellow-flowered species there are many varieties with different shades of orange and orange-red colours. Any good and fairly moist and gritty garden soils suit the Crown Imperial, and it lasts longer in partially shaded spots. The flowers, with stems as long as possible, are sold in bunches in market, sometimes realizing fair prices. There are several other kinds of Fritillaria large and small, in which a trade is done by hardy plantsmen.