Not Much to Look At? Our Native Checker Lily?

checker lilySome people think the checker lily is plain, even boring.

Others love it.

Cheryl Lisin of the Lost Coast Interpretive Association writes,

At first glance, checker lilies don’t seem much to look at, being green and brown. A closer look at the flower shows that they are actually spectacular! They are fairly common, growing in grasslands and oak scrublands and ranging from the Northern California to the San Fransisco Bay Area.

Fritillaria affinis is the scientific name. They are in the lily family, Liliaceae.

checker lily1

Some say the flowers are an acquired taste. Some love it and others…well, they find it too understated.  What about you?

P.S. Cooked, the bulbs of this lily are edible.



  • Stuart Rosenberg

    Took this photo in the mountains last year.

  • Stuart Rosenberg

    Here’s an Alpine Lily.

  • Instant recognition and then stumped for when it would’ve been I ever saw one before. Must’ve been back when I was a veritable toddler. A wild woman from the git, my dog was taking me for walks when I was two and I was mucking around the marshy spots for frogs at three and leading my sister up and down the local creeks when I was four, and we were sliding down the dry grass hillside on squares of cardboard when I was five… maybe somewhere back then.

    Anyway, from the pictures, it looks darn cool.

  • We called those “Brown Bells” or Mendocino Mission Bell Lillies. We called red fritillaria recurvia “Red Bell” and Hounds Tongue “Blue Bells’. We had all of our bells in a row before 1970. You would have gotten a blank stare if you called them anything but that. I know how the Indians must have felt when they sent them to school to learn the white man way. We oldtimers are now in forced schooling to learn the newcomer way.

  • Absolutely a fantastic “exotic” looking flower. LOVE it.

  • Here we live among the tallest trees in the world and are always looking up. Maybe we should spend a bit of time looking down, under those huge, majestic beauties, at some of the smallest plants on earth. I love lily season.

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