Bee Lunch: Chocolate lily (Fritillaria affinis) – A Northwest Native

~ Chocolate lilyThe Northwest is a great place for bulbs to grow and they provide an excellent source of early spring pollen to help hives build up.  There are so many commercial options available to choose from for your landscape that it’s easy for one to forget about the native options.  One of our natives is the Chocolate lily with a long grass like stem and hanging brown speckled flowers. Today these lilies are rare to find in the wild, but they were once more common and even cultivated.  Local tribes grew them as a food source that was either cooked right away or dried and eaten later or used for trade.  These lilies do best in open dry wooded areas or meadows that have rich organic soils that stay moist but never in areas that have standing water.  They can be grown from seed or you can start new bulbs from the small rice sized bulblets that grow around the main bulb.