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Chocolate\Checkered Lily · Fritillaria affinis
Description: This beautiful, unique native lily gets its name from the color of its single (or two to five) nodding purple to brown mottled blossoms. A single stem rises 4 to 48 inches from a deep-seated bulb. Lower leaves are arranged in one to four whorls of two to eight leaves. Flowering season is April to June. Chocolate lily is found in grasslands and open woods up to 5,000 feet from British Columbia to California and east to northern Idaho. Plant it in a sunny border or rock garden; come spring you will be drawn outside if only to visit your beautiful lily!
The Lewis and Clark expedition collected Chocolate Lily on April 10, 1806 near what they referred to as the "Great Rapids" of the Columbia River, today the site of Bonneville Dam. The specimen label records: "Specemin of lilliacious plant obtained on Brant Island 10th of apl 1806, the root of this plant is a squawmus bulb and is eaten by the natives. The Clah-clel-lar [Indians] opposiste this Island call it tel-lak-thil-pah."