Snake's head fritillary flowers

Snake's head fritillary

Snake's head fritillaries are most unusual looking wildflowers and the UK's only native fritillary species. Various shades of purple flower begin to appear in spring, and close inspection reveals a checked pattern like silvery scales. This can even be seen on the luminous white form. They are found in the damp, lowland meadows and pastures of Europe, including south-east England. They thrive on land that has never been subjected to intensive agriculture, and are now quite rare. They were once known as leper lilies and lazarus bells as the bell-shaped flowers resembled the bells worn by lepers in the Middle Ages to announce their presence.

See a summer's wildflower spectacular.

Scientific name: Fritillaria meleagris

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Checkered daffodil,
  • Checkered lily,
  • Chess flower,
  • Common fritillary,
  • Frog-cup,
  • Lazarus bell,
  • Leper lily,
  • Snake's head


The Snake's head fritillary can be found in a number of locations including: Europe, Russia, United Kingdom. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Snake's head fritillary distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web


  1. Life
  2. Plants
  3. Flowering plants
  4. Monocotyledons
  5. Liliales
  6. Lilies
  7. Fritillaria
  8. Snake's head fritillary