Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1.  In the Crediton area in Devon the snake’s-head lily or fritillary is known as Lazar’s bell, or leper’s bell, because of its shape [Crediton, Devon, January 2022].

2.  Just before I was born (late 1960s) my family lived just north of Wolverhampton (I think, more or less!) and they named the house after the fritillaries that grew nearby – at that time it was thought to be one of the most northern areas where they were found.  They used the local name for fritillary, Falfilarum, which I’ve never heard since [e-mail, April 2016]

3.  Wildflower nicknames heard in this part of Buckinghamshire …
Frawcups – the only name I have heard applied to fritillary in this area [Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, September 2012].

4. The last Sunday in April each year in Ducklington, Oxon., is Fritillary Sunday when a local water meadow supporting these flowers is open to the public in aid of charity. On that day too the altar frontal in the church is embroidered with these flowers and was worked by the late owners of the field. Teas are served, there are appropriate stalls in the church and morris dancers perform. All-in-all it is a good half-day out [Gloucester, August 1997].

5. [1930s] In the spring people gathered at Oaksey, six miles east of Tetbury (Wiltshire) to see the show of what were called locally Oaksey lilies (Fritillaria meleagris). They were an unforgettable sight. In the neighbouring towns, as far away as Cheltenham, street traders sold large quantities of these flowers each spring [Sandridge, Hertfordshire, October 1996].

Images: main, Camley Street Natural  Park, London Borough of Camden, April 2016; inset, board advertising 2017 Fritillary Sunday.