The name fritillary indicates a large number of bulbous plants, widespread in Africa, Asia and Europe; some species are also widespread in Italy. All the species of this plant, also called dice casing, are characterized by large bell-shaped flowers, which may be yellow, red, purple or white.
In reality we can divide the genus into two large groups: the imperial fritillaries, which produce flowers gathered in large circular crowns, and all the other fritillaries, which instead produce solitary flowers or cob coats.
The fritillaria imperialis
It is a bulbous plant of Mediterranean origin, which fears slightly the winter cold, and therefore must be planted at the end of winter and repaired during the cold months. Flowering occurs during the summer, or even in late spring. The bulbs of this variety are large in size and produce large tufts of leaves; in summer, from the tuft of leaves, a stiff and straight stem rises, even 100-120 cm high, at the top of which 8-10 campanulate flowers bloom, gathered in a circular crown; the flowers of the dice case are very bright in color, usually red or yellow.
This bulbous is easy to cultivate, it is planted in full sun and needs watering only in case of prolonged drought; as mentioned before, the imperialis varieties fear frost, so in regions with a very harsh winter climate they are eradicated during the winter, or they are cultivated in capacious vessels, in order to place them in a sheltered place during the cold season.
There are many other fritillary species, one of the most widespread is f. meleagris, it is a bulbous plant of small or medium size, which produces thin light green ribbon-like leaves; in spring between the leaves we note thin stems, which bear large bell-shaped flowers, white or purple; the particularity of the meleagris variety is that of having the flowers particularly colored: looking at them closely you can see that they have a checkered color.
These fritillaries do not fear the cold, and are suitable for running wild, or to be left in the garden throughout the year.
The ideal growth area for this plant is the rivers and riparian areas where humidity is high, diffused light and never direct and very humid soils. It is found from the basal plane up to an altitude of 800 meters and although it is a wild species, in some areas it is a species that has become quite rare.
Dice box - Fritillaria: Other varieties
Other species of dice case have cultivation characteristics similar to meleagris, they generally produce single flowers, of purple or purple or even almost brown color; some instead have particular flowers of very light color, yellow, white or light green.
Among these we remember the Persian fritillary; the flowers of this bulbous are generally very dark, and bloom together in long panicles, on robust and fleshy stems, even 50-60 cm tall
These fritillary species prefer fresh soils, in places that are not excessively dry or dry; in Italy they are also widespread in nature, particularly on the edge of alpine pastures.