Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Fritillaria recurva (Scarlet fritillary)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Fritillaria recurva

Fritillaria recurva Benth.

Scarlet Fritillary, Scarlet Missionbells

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Fritillaria coccinea, Fritillaria liliacea, Fritillaria recurva var. coccinea


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The narrow, glaucous leaves are borne well up the stalk and are topped by several bright scarlet, nodding, bell-like flowers, the petals often recurved and checked with yellow inside. A smooth, gray-green plant with most leaves near the middle of the stem and, hanging in an open raceme at top, 1-9 scarlet, narrowly bell-shaped flowers. Robust specimens reach 3 ft. in height.

One of the few red lilies in the West and the only red fritillary. Recurva refers to the recurved tips of the petal-like segments. However, in the inner parts of the northern Coast Ranges of California there occurs a brilliant red-flowered form whose petal-like segment tips are not recurved.


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Sometimes checkered with yellow adaxially and purple abaxially.


Native Distribution: S. OR to the inner Coast Ranges of Lake Co., CA, the Sierras of Nevada Co., CA & w. NV
Native Habitat: Rocky, brush covered slopes

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: In the garden, fritillaries are often finicky, the bulbs are eaten by gophers, and the foliage is devoured by snails and slugs. In addition, plants often take a year or two "off" from flowering, making only a single, broad, tongue-shaped basal leaf during those times. To assure good flowering, one needs a colony of several bulbs.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Fritillaria recurva in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Fritillaria recurva in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Fritillaria recurva


Record Modified: 2023-02-10
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back