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Fritillaria atropurpurea
Fritillaria atropurpurea (Chocolate Lily)
Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Mesa Verde National Park.  Blooming information withheld to protect the Lily.

Fritillaria atropurpurea is an exotic and infrequently encountered plant in the Four Corners area.  It grows from a bulb which sends up slender leaves, then the stalk and flower.  It grows from 4 to over 24 inches tall.  The plant is difficult to find and a rare treat.

Linnaeus named this genus in 1753 and Thomas Nuttall named this species in 1834 from a specimen collected by his friend Nathaniel Wyeth in Idaho in 1833.  "Fritillaria" is from the Latin for a dice-box, the shape of the seed capsule (see last photograph).  Latin gives us "atro"  for "black" and "purpur" for "purple".

Fritillaria atropurpurea

Fritillaria atropurpurea

Fritillaria atropurpurea (Chocolate Lily)
Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Mesa Verde National Park.  Blooming information withheld to protect the Lily.

The upper photograph at left shows a young flower just after it opened.  The split style tips are still arched over and tucked into the tepals, and the stamens are just beginning to develop dark anther sacs.  These sacs turn yellow and banana like, increasing greatly in size.

        Fritillaria atropurpurea
Fritillaria atropurpurea (Chocolate Lily)
Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Near McPhee Reservoir.  Blooming information withheld to protect the Lily.

Rounded flowers give way to "fritillaria", "dice-box", nearly rectangular seed pods.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Fritillaria atropurpurea