Fritillaria pudica

Of the 50 plus species that exist throughout the northern hemisphere, Fritillaria pudica is one of only eight which are found in the Pacific Northwest.  Also known as yellowbells, this small member of the lily family grows in arid sage-brush steppe habitat, east of the Cascade range from British Columbia south into northern California and in the inter-mountain areas.  Its attractive and delicate drooping yellow bloom is born on a single erect stem up to 8″ long and is usually solitary but can occur in a pair. Flowers appear early in the Spring and are often the first flowers to appear after the snow melts.  A great bulb for gardens east of the Cascades, yellowbells grows best in gravelly or rocky soil under full sun, and requires little or no care.  The bulbs of Fritillaria pudica are edible and were eaten by Native Americans; however, it is a rare and threatened bulb whose wild populations should be protected.  They have a high starch content and when cooked taste like rice.

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