Snake's Head Fritillary - How do you spell that?

The first appearance in 2023 of the Snakeshead Fritillary in our back garden.

Photo 1: First Snake's Head Fritillary 2023 (30th March)

This got me wondering: is it late or early? More on that below but whilst doing a little checking with Google, I discovered there were quite a few different spellings out there.

Snake's head fritillary is favoured by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), Gardeners' World and Wikipedia.

Snake's-head fritillary is the choice of The Wildlife Trusts and the Floodplain Meadows Partnership.

Snakeshead fritillary is preferred by some suppliers whilst others go for Snakes head fritillary thus avoiding any grammatical faux pas

Alternatively, stick to its proper name - Fritillaria meleagris - which has only one spelling as far as I know!

Looking back, the first appearance of a fritillary in 2022 was a week earlier on 23rd March ...

Photo 2: First Snake's Head Fritillary 2022 (23rd March)

... which, coincidently, was the same date in 2021 ...

Photo 3: First Snake's Head Fritillary 2021 (23rd March)

If the appearance of the Snake's Head Fritillary flower was an omen for the start of Astronomical Spring (20th March 2023), then it seems to be about a week later this year compared with 2021 and 2022. This winter has not, on average, been particularly harsh (e.g. number of frosts or lower mean daily temperatures) except for a few very cold (below -6 ℃) nights. February 2023 was, however, very dry (2.4 mm precipitation) and Snake's Head Fritillaries do prefer damp soil.


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