Ian Young certainly knows more about bulbs than I do, but if I happen to lift one of my fritillarias while it is in growth, there is a bulb of the usual size present. Laurence Hill's photos of entire fritillaria plants, in flower, also show the bulbs. I wonder if this characteristic varies among the different subgenera? For instance, subgenus Liliorrhiza (the western American species) may add new scales attached loosely to the basal plate (e.g., Fritillaria biflora and F. striata) or may maintain a slowly enlarging disc-shaped bulb with numerous loosely attached "rice grain" offsets (the F. affinis group). In both cases the bulb is present at any time in the growth cycle. In some other subgenera, I think the bulb may diminish in size during flowering, but it doesn't disappear. Nor do fritillarias produce "dropper" bulbs at the base of the stem as tulips do, although some of the American species such as F. striata will "drop" their hooked scales down early in the plant's life. Perhaps the disconnect between our observations has to do with the distinction between "layers" (as on a Narcissus or Allium) and "scales," as on a Fritillaria or Lilium? It is true that Fritillaria bulbs do not have completely enveloping layers like an onion or many of the amaryllids. I can't defend my position with photos at the moment since all the frits are dormant or nearly so, but I can measure some bulbs this summer and, if I have enough of the species, I'm willing to lift them in flower and see how different the bulb size is, if at all. Jane McGary Portland, Oregon, USA >I quote (Ian Young): > >"Classic bulbs such as Narcissus are perennial adding extra layers >each year all fritillaria bulbs are annuals, replacing themselves >completely each year with a new one that forms at the base of the >growing stem."