Crown Imperial - Fritillaria imperialis
Herb: Crown Imperial
Latin name: Fritillaria imperialis
Family: Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Medicinal use of Crown Imperial:The bulb is diuretic, emollient and resolvent. It is also a cardiac poison. It has been used as an expectorant and also to encourage increased breast milk production. The fresh plant contains the toxic alkaloid "imperialine".
Description of the plant:
(3 1/4 foot)
Habitat of the herb:Cliffs, rocky slopes and amongst scrub, 1000 - 3000 metres in Turkey. On humus rich soils, usually in gullies and shaded sides of large rocks, 1800 - 2600 metres in Kashmir.
Edible parts of Crown Imperial:Bulb - cooked. A minor source of starch. Some caution is advised since there are reports of toxicity.
Propagation of the herb:Seed - best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Protect from frost. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible and can take a year or more to germinate. Sow the seed quite thinly to avoid the need to prick out the seedlings. Once they have germinated, give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure that they do not suffer mineral deficiency. Once they die down at the end of their second growing season, divide up the small bulbs, planting 2 - 3 to an 8cm deep pot. Grow them on for at least another year in light shade in the greenhouse before planting them out whilst dormant. Division of offsets in August. The larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out in the autumn. Bulb scales.
Cultivation of Crown Imperial:Cliffs, rocky slopes and amongst scrub, 1000 - 3000 metres in Turkey. On humus rich soils, usually in gullies and shaded sides of large rocks, 1800 - 2600 metres in Kashmir.
Known hazards of Fritillaria imperialis:The bulb is poisonous raw, it contains low concentrations of a toxic alkaloid.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.