Scilla is a large genus in the Hyacinthaceae family (or most recently in the subfamily Scilloideae under the umbrella of the Asparagaceae) with most species found in Europe, North Africa and western to central Africa. There are also species from tropical Africa, India, and South Africa. Some are winter growing and some are summer growing. Species a-l are found on this page.
Scilla albinerve Yıldırım & Gemici is native to a small area near the center of southern Turkey. It has pinkish bulb scales, a white midrib on the tepals, and yellowish or orange seeds with a white eliosome. It is closely related to Scilla bifolia. The species was described by Hasan Yildirim (epublished September 2014), who also shared the following photos.
Scilla arsusiana Yıldırım & Gemici is similar to S. melaina and S. ingridiae, and is native to a similar region in southern Turkey. It grows on forested serpentine slopes. The seed morphology and flower diagnostics were used to distinguish the species. It was described by Hasan Yildirim (epublished September 2014), who also shared the following photos.
Scilla autumnalis (L.) see Prospero autumnale
Scilla bifolia L., widespread in central and southern Europe, the Caucasus and Asia Minor, is an old garden plant. It's an early bloomer, and shows color almost as soon as the sprouts break ground. Although eclipsed by some of its relatives in both size and intensity of color, it nevertheless makes an appreciated presence in the early garden. In many areas it self-sows unobtrusively, in other areas perhaps not so unobtrusively. In the break-up of the genus Scilla in the broad sense as presented in Julian Slade's discussion, Scilla bifolia remains a member of the genus Scilla. The first two photos by Travis Owen shows the buds, which appear lavender and fade to blue as they prepare to open. The third photo shows a form, photographed by Jim McKenney in his Montgomery County, Maryland, USA garden, is a self-sown seedling from commercial stock acquired decades ago. Photo four is of a form from Northern Greece by Rimmer de Vries. Final photo by Travis Owen shows swelling seed pods, similar to Chionodoxa seed pods but smaller.
Scilla cilicica Siehe is native to southern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel. It grows in scrub, under bushes, and in rocky places. Leaves appear in the fall and the lilac blue slightly reflexed flowers winter into spring. First photo taken by John Lonsdale; photos 2 and 3 taken in its natural habitat in north Israel by Oron Peri. Photo 4 by Rimmer de Vries of a plant ex RRW96.28 from Jebel Nusairia, Syria; he comments it was hardy outside in garden winter of 2013-14 in SE Michigan.
Scilla cretica (Boiss. & Heldr.) Speta is endemic to Crete where it grows in scrub at 1300-1700 m. Photo by John Lonsdale.
Scilla cupani Guss. is an endemic species from mainland Sicily, resembling a smaller Scilla peruviana with pale blue flowers. It has been proposed to go by the name of Oncostema cerulea (Raf.) Speta but there is still a controversy on the correct spelling between cerulea and ceruleum. IPNI information lists a published name of Oncostema cerulea in 1987 with a basionym of Ornithogalum ceruleum (Rafin.) It also lists a published name of Oncostema cupanii (Guss.) Speta from 1998 with a basionym of Scilla cupanii, even though their data base lists the original publication of that name as Scilla cupani (one i, not two.) The Plant List continues to list all these names as synonyms for Scilla peruviana. Photo from Angelo Porcelli.
Scilla dimartinoi Brullo & Pavone is a beautiful yet little known species endemic from Lampedusa, a small island between Sicily and North Africa. This proposed name change for this species was Oncostema dimartinoi in the genus Oncostema. It is very distinctive and can't be confused with the closely related Scilla peruviana and Scilla hughii. It bears similarities with some South African plants. The dull green leaves lay flat on the ground in a starfish fashion, like many Brunsvigia and have hairy margins like some Haemanthus. The long bracts have hairy margins as well. The inflorescence is a practically stemless umbel of densely packed flowers, reminiscent of a giant Massonia. Flowers are nearly white with a very pale blue shade, giving the feeling of grayish flowers but pistils are darker. Those in photos are young plants seed raised, at their very first flowering and the inflorescence is about 10 cm across, but the species can grow as large as Scilla peruviana with bulbs half exposed. The last picture is a close-up of the flowers. Ants seem to be the pollinators, as they were visiting the flowers, which secrete droplets of nectar. Photos and text by Angelo Porcelli.
Scilla dracomontana see Merwilla dracomontana
Scilla greilhuberi Speta see Fessia greilhuberi
Scilla haemorrhoidalis Webb & Berthel. originated in the Canary Islands. It blooms in late winter in shades of pink, mauve and blue. The name which may mean 'blood red', 'bleeding' or 'veins' may refer to the red stems. Leaves, 3 in number are wide and fleshy. Photo taken by Oron Peri of a plant in his collection.
Scilla hohenackeri see Fessia hohenackeri
Scilla hughii Tineo ex Guss. is considered a synonym for Scilla peruviana by the Plant List. According to Angelo Porcelli it has some features that tell it apart from that species with a rather wide 'safe' margin. The leaves are wider than those of S. peruviana, almost triangular in young plants and a bit shorter, as shown in the first photo by Angelo Porcelli. The leaf base is pigmented (purplish) as is the flower stalk and the bracts and flowers are actually a deeper blue with a shade of purple too. But the easiest difference is the length of the bracts; they are by far longer in this species than in S. peruviana. Photos taken by Susan Hayek at Telos Rare Bulbs nursery owned by Diana Chapman. Diana says, "Endemic to a small island off the coast of Italy, the very rare Scilla hughii is often confused with S. peruviana. S. hughii is characterized by the much longer bracts beneath each pedicel, the purple flush to the bracts and pedicels, and the brilliant two-tone coloring of the florets."
Scilla hyacinthoides L. is a Mediterranean species, originally from Middle East but naturalized here and there in South of Italy. It needs a poor stony soil to flower well, otherwise it will develop an abnormal number of offsets missing the flowering. It was proposed to be moved into a new genus with it as the sole species, Nectaroscilla hyacinthoides (L.) Parl, but this change in 2021 has not been accepted. First photo by Angelo Porcelli second and third photo taken at the UC Botanical Garden by Nhu Nguyen of a clone from Israel.
Scilla ingridiae var. taurica (Barr) Speta is not differentiated from the species by the Plant List. The photo by Rimmer de Vries is of plants grown from seed (RRW93.33) collected in Adana province, Turkey.
Scilla japonica see Barnardia japonica
Scilla libanotica Speta is a rare species distributed in Lebanon, W. Syria and in one location on the Israeli side of Mt. Hermon. Unlike its closely related S. cilicica, Scilla libanotica appears and flower just days after snow melts. It grows in shaded rocky habitats and at the base of deciduous trees. Photo taken in its habitat by Oron Peri.
Scilla lilio-hyacinthus L. has a bulb that mimics somehow the scaly structure of a lily bulb. Planted in the foreground of a sunny border with very rich soil in Oregon in Jane McGary's garden it increased vigorously. It was proposed to be included in the new genus Tractema. Pictures show a blue and a white flowered specimen grown by Martin Bohnet.
Scilla lingulata see Hyacinthoides lingulata
Scilla litardierei Breistr. (syn. Scilla amethystina, Scilla pratensis, Scilla albanica, Scilla italica and Scilla nutans) was proposed in 2009 to be renamed Nectaroscilla littardierei (Breistr.) Trávníèek, but in 2021 this has not been accepted. See Trávníèek et al. 2009 for the paper proposing the name change. It is commonly known as the Amethyst Meadow Squill (or Dalmatian Scilla) and is from the western Balkans. Judy Glattstein sent the first picture below to the Mystery Bulbs page of the wiki saying "I was foraging just across the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and found this bulb growing near a boarded up house for sale. There were several, some with multiple stems and some non-flowering - don't know - seedlings? The only thing it looks like to me is Scilla peruviana and I doubt that that would be winter hardy here". For more see her web page. PBS list members soon identified the bulb. See list archive. The rest of the photos are from Mary Sue Ittner. The last shows the bulbs on a 1 cm grid.
Scilla luciliae see Chionodoxa luciliae