Today Kyle and Michelle treated me to a walk in Marin County. One of the highlights was this beautiful lily — a rare, dark variety of the Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria affinis var. tristulis).
Chocolate Lilies (also known as Checker Lilies) are found in coastal prairie and coastal scrub habitats along the West Coast from British Columbia to California, but this variety is almost restricted to Marin County.
One of the most distinctive characteristics of this variety is the very dark flower coloration, with scarce yellow/green mottling that is more common in other Chocolate Lilies. For comparison, here's a photo of a Chocolate Lily taken on Bodega Head in April 2011 (below).
Along the with abundant mottling of the flowers, did you notice the large fly with pollen on its thorax? The fly had been visiting the flowers, so it was serving as a pollinator that day.
Today we also noticed some visitors to the lilies. Here are a couple of examples:
A small bee.
Some large ants!
I'm grateful to Michelle and Kyle for sharing this wonderful spring wildflower!