"Bulb with 1–several large fleshy scales, 0–many small scales. Stem: erect, simple (0 in non-flowering plants). Leaf: cauline, alternate, subopposite, or whorled below, sessile, linear to ± ovate (1 bulb-leaf in non-flowering plants). Inflorescence: raceme; bracts leaf-like. Flower: generally nodding, bell- or cup-shaped; perianth parts 6 in 2 whorls, each part with distinct glandular area in lower 1/2; stamens 6, included, attached at perianth base, anthers attached ± near middle; ovary ± sessile, style 1, ± entire or 3-branched. Fruit: capsule, loculicidal, thin-walled, ± rounded, 6-angled, or winged, chambers 3. Seed: many, 2 rows per chamber, flat, ± brown."
"± 100 species: northern temperate. (Latin: dicebox, from fruit shape) Bulbs of some eaten by Native Americans.
Unabridged references: [Turrill & Sealy 1980 Hooker's Icones Plantarum 34:1–275]" [Jepson]

"There are about one hundred Fritillaria species, ranging from North Africa to Europe, Asia, and western North America. The plants are generally hardy and easily cultivated in home gardens." [Schofield]

Local Species;

  1. Fritillaria affinis - Sealy Checker Lily [E-flora]
  2. Fritillaria camschatcensis - northern rice-root [E-flora][PCBC][TSFTK]
  3. Fritillaria pudica - yellow bell [TSFTK][E-flora]


F.affinis; "Dry to mesic grassy bluffs, meadows and open forests in the lowland and steppe to lower subalpine zones; common on SE Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and inland to SC BC, south of 52degreeN; S to ID and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Fritillaria camschatcensis


F.camschatcensis; "Moist tideflats, meadows, open forests, rocky beaches and streambanks in the lowland to subalpine zones; common along coast, infrequent inland; N to AK and YT and S to W WA and OR." [IFBC-E-flora]

Fritillaria camschatcensis



F .pudica; "Dry shrublands, grasslands and open coniferous forests in the steppe and lower montane zones; infrequent in S BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; E to AB and S to NM, UT, NV and N CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Edible Uses

  • Harvesting:"The bulbs grow relatively close to the surface and are easily extracted. They were dug, usually in spring before flowering or in summer or fall, after flowering, using a digging stick, a wooden spade, or the fingers. They were cooked immediately, or could be partially dried, then stored in a cool place." [Turner, Kuhnlein]
  • Preparation: "A pudding is made by mixing the bulbs with the fruit of Empetrum nigrum[183]. The bulb is also dried and ground into a powder, then used as a flour or starch for making breads and soups[183]. The bulb is best if harvested in the autumn[172], it resembles a cluster of cooked rice grains[207]." [PFAF] "They were cooked by steaming for about 30 minutes in a cedarwood box, by boiling for a short time then mashing to a paste, or occasionally, by baking in ashes. Sometimes they were dried for winter use. They were usually eaten with oil of some kind, such as ooligan grease, and, more recently, with sugar or molasses. They were also cooked in stews and soups with fish or meat, or eaten raw with fish eggs. The Gitksan sometimes toasted the kernels and served them with the inner bark of western hemlock. The Kaigani Haida sometimes boiled them with the chopped leaves of western dock (Rumex occidentalis). Even when cooked, they are slightly bitter, and some people used to soak them in water overnight to reduce the bitter flavor." [Turner, Kuhnlein]

Nutritional Info

Riceroot LilyFritillaria camschatcensis [Turner, Kuhnlein]

Part:BulbsPer 100 g fresh weight
Food Energy (Kcal)98Ash (g)1Potassium (mg)-
Water (g)74Thiamine (mg)0.04Magnesium (mg)23
Protein (g)2.9Riboflavin (mg)0.04Calcium (mg)10
Fat (g)0.3Niacin (mg)0.2Phosphorus (mg)61
Carbohydrate (g)21.8Vitamin C (mg)29Sodium (mg)18
Crude Fiber (g)1.9Vitamin A (RE)-Iron (mg)2.2
Zinc (mg)0.7Manganese (mg)0.4Copper (mg)0.2



Other Fritillaria Sp.

"Many species of Fritillaria have been used as antitussive and expectorant... in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for over 2000 years." [Saklani&Sahoo]

"140 compounds had been isolated from 35 species of Fritillaria. Amongst all compounds reported from different Fritillaria species, the majority (72.7%) belong to isosteroidal alkaloids with some steroidal alkaloids (11.5%) and non-alkaloids (15.8%). ...the major isosteroidal alkaloids are the primary active ingredients responsible for the antitussive activity (Lin et al., 2001)." [Saklani&Sahoo]


Page last modified on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 9:19 PM