Chionodoxa

Chionodoxa is a bulbous genus in the Hyacinthaceae family sold under the common name Glory of the Snow. Species come from mountain habitats in Crete, Cyprus, and Turkey and are hardy and like cool summer temperatures as well. The Austrian botanist Speta considers that this genus should be included in Scilla even though he has divided what used to be Scilla into many new genera. This genus was once considered different from Scilla by having the perianth joined into a tube and the stamens having flattened filaments. There is much confusion about the names and the same plant can be found under different names.

The nothogenus ×Chionoscilla was established to name the hybrids which appear when Scilla bifolia and Chionodoxa are growing in close proximity. When the nothogenus ×Chionoscilla was established, Scilla and Chionodoxa were regarded as separate genera. If present thinking merges these two genera, the entities formerly regarded as intergeneric hybrids would now be treated as interspecific hybrids within the genus Scilla. Kew is accepting the merging of this genus into Scilla.

These hybrids seed about freely in many gardens and can become something of a nuisance, intruding into plantings where unwelcome. Fortunately, the bulbs are never very deep and are easily moved, even in flower. In my own garden, the stray seedlings have been rounded up and segregated in a bed adjacent to a parking area. When they are grouped like this, instead of being scattered throughout the garden, they make quite an impact when in flower. Photo by Rodger Whitlock

×Chionodoxa plants, Rodger Whitlock

Chionodoxa forbesii is from the West of Turkey. The differences between C. forbesii, C. luciliae, C. sardensis and C. siehei, are addressed in the RHS publication Hyacinthaceae – Little Blue Bulbs. C. siehei is now merged with C. forbesii plants having often been sold as C. luciliae. Photos by David Pilling, the third one shows C. forbesii (left) and C. luciliae.

Chionodoxa forbesii, David PillingChionodoxa forbesii, David PillingChionodoxa forbesii and luciliae, David PillingChionodoxa forbesii, David Pilling

Chionodoxa luciliae syn. Scilla luciliae a free spreading early Spring small bulb that is known as Glory of the Snow. It is native of Western Turkey near Izmir. It has 2 to 3 violet blue flowers in a loose raceme that are white at the base of the tepals with white filaments. Flowers are upward facing, about 3.5 cm. wide. Photos John Lonsdale and David Pilling.

Chionodoxa luciliae, John LonsdaleChionodoxa luciliae, David Pilling

Chionodoxa sardensis syn. Scilla sardensis has up to 22 bell to star-shaped flowers up to 2.5 cm wide in a loose one-sided raceme. It is purple-violet in bud, violet at opening, fading to violet blue with very little white in the center apart from the filaments. Photo of flowers from Arnold Trachtenberg is probably of this species from Western Turkey although it could also be a hybrid. Photo of bulbs, seed pods and seed by David Pilling, the coin is about an inch in size and the grid 10 mm.

Scilla sardensis, syn. ×Chionodoxa sardensis, Arnold TrachtenbergScilla sardensis, syn. Chionodoxa sardensis, David PillingScilla sardensis, syn. Chionodoxa sardensis, David PillingScilla sardensis, syn. Chionodoxa sardensis, David Pilling

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Page last modified on June 18, 2012, at 05:07 PM