Checker Lily Seeds (Fritillaria affinis)
Also known as chocolate lily or rice root, this is a sublime, but challenging to grow plant of Northwestern prairies, oak savannahs, and shore pine scrublands near the coast.
From an edible, lumpy bulb that resembles a mass of rice grains, checker lily briefly appears in the spring (roughly the same time as camas) to produce exotic-looking, nodding brown/purple flowers that are dabbed with flecks of yellow or green. By mid-summer the flowers dry up, leaving beautiful large brown seed capsules that eventually split and spill their multitudes of flat brown seeds onto the surrounding ground.
This is plant best attempted by fall or winter sowing in containers (with a sandy-loam soil), then transplanted several seasons later when the bulbs are large enough to handle. That said, there remains a lot of mystery around the propagation of this plant and germination can be painfully slow, inconsistent, and irregular. We’ve seen seeds from the same parent plant begin to germinate many months apart from one another. It’s likely that some seeds may sit in the soil for more than a year before germinating. Despite its initial challenges, once established, checker lily is an incredibly long-lived plant, with individual specimens possibly living for more than a century. It can also be periodically dug and divided to create more plants from bulb offshoots, this practice also allows for some sustainable harvesting of checker lily as a traditional food plant.
We laboriously hand harvest and hand clean the seed of this plant, and only have a limited supply available, it’s one of the rarest meadow plants in our inventory. This is good plant for experienced native seed propagators.
Approximately 50 seeds per packet.