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Close-up of the unique purplish-brown flowers of checker lily (aka chocolate lily or Fritillaria affinis). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Close-up of the unique purplish-brown flowers of checker lily (aka chocolate lily or Fritillaria affinis). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Growth habit of checker lily (aka chocolate lily or Fritillaria affinis). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.

Checker Lily

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Fritillaria affinis

Checker Lily, also known as Chocolate Lily, is named for its extraordinarily unique flower color and pattern. Unlike anything else in your northwest native garden, Checker Lily bulbs sport up to five nodding flowers with unmistakable brownish-purple pixelated mottling that are adored by gardeners and insect pollinators alike.

  • Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, perennial, herbaceous plant
  • Size at maturity: 2' tall, 1-2' wide
  • Light requirements: full sun, part sun / part shade
  • Moisture requirements: moist soil
  • Bloom time: March - June
  • Growth rate/ease: moderately easy to grow
  • Wildlife support: attracts and provides nectar to adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators, attracts and supports beneficial and other pest-eating insects
  • Native habitat/range: locally common in moist open meadows and woodlands, growing in the partial shade of taller foliage, from the coast to mid-elevations in nearly every county west of the Cascades across the Pacific Northwest. Portland Plant List - yes. 
  • Special features & uses: meadowscapes, pollinator gardens, rock gardens or woodland gardens

Gardening with Checker Lily:  Checker lily is a spring blooming bulb that will pop-up, thoroughly delight, before disappearing again until next year - so be sure to plant several and place them in areas where their exceptional blooms will be cherished. This relatively small plant works well as a perennial bulb border for meadowscapes, pollinator gardens, rock gardens and/or woodland gardens. It requires moist soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter.

Photo Credit 1: "Fritillaria affinis" by brewbooks is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo Credits 2, 3: Nikkie West, Sparrowhawk Native Plants