The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Common Name: Chocolate Lily
Fritillaria affinis is a Bulb up to 0.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Western N. America - British Columbia to California, east to Idaho.
Prairies and grass bluffs to woodland and coniferous forests, usually on leafy soils overlying a rather stony sub-soil, from sea level to 1500 metres[
A woodland plant, preferring light soils[
]. It is best grown in a well-drained sandy woodland soil[
]. Plants are best grown in a bulb frame and kept rather dry in summer[
]. Water should be withheld in summer or hot spells[
A very ornamental and polymorphic plant[
]. The sub-species F. affinis tristulis. [Grant] is a triploid form that is exceptionally large flowered, robust and easily cultivated[
Plants flower within 3 - 5 years from seed[
Bulb - raw, cooked or dried for winter use[
]. Rich in starch, the bulb is best used in the autumn[
]. The plant has a small bulb surrounded by rice-like bulblets[
]. Both bulb and bulblets are used, when cooked they are tender and delicate, resembling real rice except for having a slightly bitter taste[
]. The roots were a staple food for some native North American Indian tribes[
Immature seedpods - raw or cooked. A bitter flavour[
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.