Crown imperials (or Fritillaria imperialis) are a rare sight in Manhattan. This one was growing in Battery Park, blooming this week.
Fritillaries are such great, weird plants. They're bulbs, and I love that they have these pineapple-like crowns on top of the blossoms. Native to Turkey and the near east, these bulbs have been cultivated longer than most other flowers.
This species is Fritillaria imperialis, but the genus name (latin for 'dice box') refers to Fritillaria meleagris, or the checkered fritillary.