Crown Imperial stamp from Germany

December 9th, 2013

A new German stamp dedicated to flora depicts a flower of Crown imperial.

Crown imperialor Kaiser's crown (Fritillaria imperialis) is aspeciesof flowering plantof thegenus Fritillaria, family Liliaceae, nativeto a wide stretch from Anatolia across the plateau of Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Himalayan foothills. It grows to about 1 m in height, and bears lance-shaped, glossy leaves at intervals along the stem. It bears a prominent whorl of downward facing flowers at the top of the stem, topped by a "crown" of small leaves, hence the name. While the wild form is usually orange-red, various colours are found in cultivation, ranging from nearly a true scarlet through oranges to yellow. The pendulous flowers make a bold statement in the late spring garden; in the northern hemisphere, flowering takes place in late spring, accompanied by a distinctly foxy odour that repels mice, moles and other rodents.

Due to the way that the bulb is formed, with the stem emerging from a depression, it is best to plant it on its side, to prevent water causing rot at the top of the bulb. Fritillaria imperialis requires full sun for best growth, and sandy, well-drained soil for permanence.

After flowering and complete drying of the leaves, the stems should be cut off just above the ground.

The Latin specific epithet imperialis means "showy".