Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Crown Imperial
Fritillaria imperialis

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The bulb is diuretic, emollient and resolvent[240]. It is also a cardiac poison[240]. It has been used as an expectorant and also to encourage increased breast milk production[254]. The fresh plant contains the toxic alkaloid ‘imperialine'[240].

  • Edible Use

    Bulb – cooked[114]. A minor source of starch[4, 105, 177]. Some caution is advised since there are reports of toxicity.

  • Cautionary Notes

    The bulb is poisonous raw[4, 114], it contains low concentrations of a toxic alkaloid[163, 240].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring[1]. Protect from frost[134]. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible and can take a year or more to germinate[134]. 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[1]. 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. Bulb scales[163].
Easily grown in a moderately fertile soil[90]. Prefers a heavy soil without any disturbance, not even hoeing[1, 42]. Requires a well-drained soil and a sunny position[42, 90, 200] or the shade of deciduous trees or shrubs[90]. Succeeds in drier soils and is drought tolerant once established[190]. Plants succeed in most fertile soils, avoiding pure chalk, heavy clay and boggy sites[233]. The dormant bulbs are very hardy and will withstand soil temperatures down to at least -10¡c[214]. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties[233]. The flowers smell of wet fur and garlic[245]. Bulbs should be planted 10 – 12 cm deep in July[1] on their side with sharp sand beneath them to ensure that they do not rot[42, 200].
W. Asia – W. Himalayas, Turkey and Iran.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.