Fritillaria atropurpurea “Spotted Fritillary” Liliaceae

Drinking Horse Mountain, Bozeman, MT
June 3, 2015
Robert Niese

There are several common species of chocolate/spotted/checkered fritillaries in the PNW (and countless endemics with tiny, restricted ranges in OR and CA). This species, F. atropurpurea, has the easternmost distribution and is found in most Rocky Mountain states as well as Oregon and California (not found in Washington, BC or Alberta, however). F. affinis is the most common species found west of the Cascades, but can also be found in parts of Idaho (not recorded in Montana or Alberta). F. camschatcensis, has a more northern distribution, but small populations can be found in Washington and Oregon (most abundant in BC and Alaska). The bulbs of all three species have been an important food source for native peoples. The flowers, which can be quite stinky, are pollinated by insects seeking dung and carrion.

Fritillaria pudica “Yellowbells/Yellow Fritillary” Liliaceae

Lolo National Forest, Bitterroot Mountains, MT
April 18, 2015
Robert Niese

Yellow Fritillaries are a sure sign of spring in the PNW east of the Cascades. They tend to make their appearance around the same time as species like the Sagebrush Buttercup and Biscuitroot. The roots of F. pudica are edible and quite starchy. They are said to taste like rice after they have been cooked.