Fritillaria biflora Lindley var. biflora

Chocolate Lily
Liliaceae (Lily Family)


Chocolate lily is an uncommon early spring-blooming glabrous perennial with a stout, light green stem, nodding, bell-shaped brownish-purple flowers lined inside with green and purple, and alternate, linear to narrowly ovate leaves to 5" long.  This species develops from a bulb and may grow to a height of 16", preferring heavy clay soils on open grassy slopes and mesas below about 3000' from San Diego and Riverside Cos. north.  It blooms from February to April, but may bloom as late as June if rainfall and temperature conditions are right. Its dark and lovely appearance has earned it the nickname of 'Cleopatra of the Fritillaries.'  It has also been referred to as Mission Bells.  These pictures were taken at Nicholas Flat in the Santa Monica Mts.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Fritillaria 2) biflora.
Pronunciation: fri-til-AIR-ee-a bye-FLOR-a.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.