These little maroon and yellow trimmed, bell-shaped flowers had me totally perplexed for the last couple of seasons! Despite countless image searches on Google, I kept coming up empty handed. Given their appearance, I kept thinking they were some variety of wildflower tulips as they too bloom in early spring. Trying multiple keyword search variations still did not yield anything. I even asked one of the folks who tend to the gardens – but they did not know either.
However, after a more persistent online search, one random image finally came up. Low and behold, my search had ended. The fact is, these are NOT tulips – but rather in the lily family!!
This recent discovery led me to their actual name and what they are: Fritillaria Michailovskyi, commonly called Fritillary or Michael’s flower.
Here is some background info I discovered on these flowers:
“Fritillaria Michailovskyi is a species of flowering plant in the lily family Liliaceae, native to mountainous areas of northeastern Turkey. Fritillaria Michailovskyi, commonly called Fritillary or Michael’s flower, is a bulbous perennial of the lily family. This is a short, compact fritillary that is native to alpine screes and stony slopes near snow line in the mountains of northeastern Turkey.
The bulbs produce grassy foliage and burgundy, bell-like flowers with bright yellow trim. Fritillaria Michailovsky are ideal for rock gardens, as they prefer well drained soil.”
Little Bell-Shaped Michael’s Flowers
As noted in the information above, apparently these amazing little gems grow wild in the mountains of Turkey. Given their growing preferences, I’ve learned they are ideal for rock gardens, as they prefer well drained soil. This is likely why they grow happily in the dry mulch in the early spring Xeriscape gardens.
Looking back now, it makes sense that these are in the lily family. Having grown up on the east coast in South Jersey, I recall little, white, bell-shaped Lily’s of the Valley in our garden. But I did not make the connection with these little flowers – especially given their color combination.
Fragile Looking but Hardy for Their Size
In the gardens I frequent for photo ops, there is only a few small clusters of these dainty little flowers. They appear in one spot only that I’ve seen. It’s full sun and very dry conditions amongst the mulch. They stand a few inches tall and the flowers may be about an inch or so large. They look so fragile but are quite hardy for the short time they are in bloom.
I love how they look like little bells with the yellow trim. The color combination is quite striking and so different than anything else blooming in the gardens at this time. The photos above give you a sense of how petite they are – especially the photo to the left. They may not be tulips after all – but you really need to see them in person to appreciate them.
This flower photography journey continues to lead me on the wonders of nature and new discoveries 🙂