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Yellow Fritillary

Scientific Name:
Fritillaria pudica
Native Name(s):
  1. Northern Paiute: winida (Couture et al. 1986)


Fritillaria pudica is a short lived, herbaceous perennial that grows 7 to 30 cm tall. The bulbs are deep seated with numerous smaller, grainlike bulblets. It has one stalk with 2 to 8 fleshy narrow leaves. Fritillaria pudica blooms in early spring, with each plant having 1 to 2 terminal flowers that are nodding, bell shaped, and colored yellow but age to orange. The fruit is a many-seeded capsule.

Identification Tips

Fritillaria pudica is distinguished by it's bright yellow nodding flowers that change color to orange as they age.

Starch Granules

This species produces ovoid granules ranging from 10 to 20 microns in length. The hilum is eccentric and the longitudinal fissure is apparent on large grains. Like most lily species, the fissure often has lateral branches extending to the outer edges of the granule.


Fritillaria pudica grows below 2100 m in dry areas with sufficient spring moisture. The species is often found in shrub-steppe to Ponderosa-pine to mixed coniferous forests.


This species grows in North America from British Columbia south to Northern California; east to Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, and Utah; Washington east of the Cascades.


Although ethnographic data on the use of Fritillaria pudica by Surprise Valley Paiute is lacking, there is information on its use by other tribes in the western United States. For example, the bulbs of Fritillaria pudica were used as food by the Gosiute tribes in Utah (Chamberlin 1911). The Paiutes in Oregon also gathered, boiled, and ate Fritillaria pudica bulbs (Mahar 1953). 

Distribution Map: