Sunday, 9 March 2014

Fritillary





It's spring and the crocus are in full bloom. I took photos of them both in the beginning of the week and today, but have been too busy to post any photos. There's also a few other flowers beginning to bud. The fritillary is not one of them. It's from the shop and sits in a pot indoors.

I've developed a penchant for this flower, Fritillaria meleagris aka snake's head aka kungsängslilja, recently. As you can see amongst my pins. There's one, two, three and even four photos pinned that I found just at the top of the boards. (And notice how in almost all of them, they're matched with another favourite of mine, the hellebore.)

We used to have these flowers by the wall of the smaller building where my sis and I live, but they disappeared years ago. At the time I didn't miss them that much as they weren't my favourites, but of cause it was sad to see them thinning out and then, one year, just be gone and never coming back. Then I forgot about them more or less. Until recently when seeing all those gorgoues photos of this both delicate and striking flower. Don't know if it was just its beauty or -- at least partially -- a touch of nostalgia that made me drool over the pics.

Now I adore it. Unusually, it's especially as a cut flower I love it. Combined with a few hellebores or on its own. Perhaps just a single flower with leaves in a clear vase. Normally I prefer living flowers with roots in soil, especially out in the garden or in nature. Flowers in a vase is just not really my thing. Sometimes it's nice, though, and sometimes it's a way to "save" a flower with broken stem for a while. Or you put them in water in order to let them develop roots so they can be planted. But just buying bouquets every now and then to decorate tables etc? No, that's not my cup of tea. I don't even find a dozen red roses romantic because of that.

Anyway, I mentioned that I wanted a snake's head fritillary as my sis and I went to a flower shop to pick up a couple of daffodils. Though they were a tad expensive, though, so I didn't buy, but apparently it'd rubbed off on my sis so she bought a pot. The one in the pic above.



The legend of the snake's head fritillary

Why not take the opportunity to tell of the legend of the snake's head? In swedish it's called kungsängslilja, named after Kungsängen (lit. the king meadow) outside Uppsala. The area is known for the fritillaries, which thrive here. It's the biggest wild fritillary population in the nordic countries. You can find both the usual checked variety seen in these photos, but also some of the white variety that is less common.

According to local lore, the fritillaries here are a memory of a battle between swedes and danes, back in the days a common thing as the wars between Sweden and Denmark were many. For every dane killed on the battlefield, a red flower grew and for every dead swede a white flower grew. As the swedes won a great victory with few casualties the white flowers are very scarce.

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