To visit this weekend: Fritillaria meleagris meadows at Magdalen College, Oxford University, England

To visit this weekend: Fritillaria meleagris meadows at Magdalen College, Oxford University, England

Who doesn't love fritillaria meleagris?   If you happen to be in the UK at this time of year, a visit to Magdalen College, Oxford University is well worth a a visit.   Seeing these flowers in a natural habitat is like nothing else.  It's very spectacular - they light up like jewels in the low Spring sun.  The meadows are open until dusk - so well worth waiting for if you're into flower photography as well.

 

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The original English name of these flowers is the Snake's Head fritillary, It has many local name variations such as Simple Fritillary, Checkered Daffodil, Frog-cup, Chess Flower, Guinea-hen Flower and Leper Lily,

The flowers are nodding, dainty, six petaled bells, hang from slender stems about 15 to 30cm in height.  They range from white to various shades of purple and bear a unique, chequered patterning which is quite obvious on the purple flowers but more of a feint "water mark" on the white flowers.

Fritillaria meleagris flower from March to May from a small bulb, about 2 cm in diameter, commonly found growing in grasslands in damp soils and river meadows.

It is the only species of Fritillary native to Britain, but is now quite rare in the wild due to modern farming and land cultivation techniques.