Herb: Snakehead Fritillary

Latin name: Fritillaria meleagris

Family: Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Medicinal use of Snakehead Fritillary:

The plant formerly had a reputation as a healing herb, but is not used at present.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Damp meadows and pastures, especially on alkaline soils.

Propagation of Snakehead Fritillary:

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 the herb:

Damp meadows and pastures, especially on alkaline soils.

Known hazards of Fritillaria meleagris:

The bulb is poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.