Name: Fritillary

Scientific name: Fritillaria meleagris

Category: Flowers

Nature Stars: 80

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It was not so long ago that the spring markets of Covent Garden (in London) were overflowing with the nodding, pink- and white-chequered blooms of Fritillaries. Handfuls picked from meadows beside the River Thames were taken to the capital by local children to be sold for a pretty penny or two. But today, the carpets of these flowers that once straddled our rivers and covered our wet meadows have become a rare sight.

How to identify: Snake's-head Fritillaries are unmistakeable - look for their chequered purple, pink or even white bell-like flowers, nodding on thin stems in April and May. They have narrow, grey-green leaves that appear at the base of the plant and occasionally up the stem.

Where: Not too common but grows mainly in England

Fantastic fact: Also know as 'Snakes-head Fritillaries', due to the petals having the pattern of snakes skin.

Photograph credit: Tom Marshall

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