Thursday, June 3, 2010

Guinea Hen Flower, Checkered Lily Fritillaria

Fritillaria meleagris 1915
Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928)
Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow

Photo by Luc Regniers
'And its development from the bud stage is interesting to watch. Usually there are two flowers to a stem, but at first the two buds appear to be united. Presently they separate, and the large bud develops a faint checkering, garnet upon a pale ground, and this checkering becomes more distinct until, in the fully expanded square shouldered flower, it is very marked'. Louise Beebe Wilder, 1936, 'Adventures with Hardy Bulbs'
'This species is found from Norway throughout the whole of central Europe to the Caucasus. It is said to grow thickly in the smiling meadows about lovely Azay-le-Rideau in Touraine France; and in parts of England it is so abundant as in the valley of the Thames and its tributaries.'

Illustration in the 1554 Flemish Herbal Cruydeboech by Rembertus Dodonaeus
Dodonaeus calls it Flos Meleagris,....... meleagris then being the name of the guinea hen, for the reason that the whole flower is checkered over like the wings and breast of that curious fowl."Nature hath kept a very wonderful order, surpassing the curiousest painting that art can set downe."

Rembertus Dodonaeus (1517-1585)

Guinea Fowl, Numida meleagris

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Fritillaria, unfortunately not for my garden. William Morris used this flower widely in his designs. I have a Guinea fowl pet since 15 years. Her name is Mrs. Benteli. When I lived in SWLand, an elderly lady walked past my home every Sunday to church, she wore exactly the same dress! Enjoy a nice weekend. T.