Scilla mischtschenkoana Scilla mischtschenkoana Scilla mischtschenkoana

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Siberian Squill

Scilla siberica

  • Name also: Wood Squill
  • Family: Asparagus Family – Asparagaceae
    (formerly Hyacinth Family – Hyacinthaceae)
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Bulb small, egg-shaped, with dark violet shell.
  • Height: 15–25 cm (6–10 in.). Stem bristly or flat, leafless scape.
  • Flower: Perianth regular (actinomorphic), sky blue–dark blue (occasionally white), 25–30 mm (1–1.2 in.) wide, with almost separate leaves. Tepals 6 in 2 similar whorls. Stamens 6, filaments broad, flat, anthers blue (yellow when tepals white). Gynoecium composed of 3 fused carpels, ovary trilocular, style solitary. Inflorescence 2–5-flowered, a lax terminal raceme, flowers nodding, sometimes with small white subtending bracts.
  • Leaves: In basal rosette, 2–5 leaves. Blade linearly lanceolate, keel-tipped, flat, parallel-veined, with entire margin.
  • Fruit: Spherical, loculicidal (3-sectioned), 8–10 mm (0.32–0.4 in.) long capsule.
  • Habitat: Yards, parks, gardens, hedgerows, roadsides, broadleaf woods. Ornamental, escape and leftover from cultivation.
  • Flowering time: (April–)May–June.

Despite its name, Siberian squill is native to the forests and hedgerows of western Asia, to the south and west of Siberia. The species has settled in well to Finland and adds a splash of colour to lawns and ground near inhabited areas, especially in southern Finland in the springtime. Siberian squill was not cultivated in Finland until the 19th century. As a trend-setting plant it could be found in the manor grounds and villa gardens of the rich and powerful, where it often still grows vigorously even though the buildings themselves may have vanished into the mists of time. Later on the cultivation of Siberian squill also spread to more modest gardens and summer cottage yards, allotments and graveyards – from where it escaped into the wild.

Siberian squill flowers early in the spring, even in April or May. It grows as high as a hand span at the most, so it rushes to assimilate before larger plants leave it in the shade. The whole plant is poisonous and it is an ingredient in e.g. rat poison. Like many poisonous plants Siberian squill can also be used as a heart medicine if it is administered in the correct dosage. Siberian squill is connected with many beliefs, the oldest of which go back to ancient times: the scientific name of the genus is related to the goddess Scylla of Greek mythology, a beauty who was tuned into a terrible sea monster. The superstitious people long regarded Siberian squill as a flower of witches and evil spirits which shouldn’t even be stepped on. It is doubtful that anybody would feel inclined to trample on this herald of the spring, even though its beauty can be enjoyed without any fear of evil spirits.

Mishcenko Squill & Alpine Squill

Scilla mischtschenkoana & Scilla bifolia

Siberian squill is the most common squill species in Finland. Two more squill species can survive through Finnish winter: Mishcenko squill (Early squill, White squill) and Alpine squill. NOT TRANSLATED YET. Persiansinililjan kukat ovat vaaleansinisiä, ponnet keltaisia. Kukinnan alkuvaiheessa kasvin korkeus on vain noin 5 cm, mutta kukinnan aikana se kasvaa noin 15–20 cm:n mittaiseksi. Pikkusinililja on suomalaisen nimen mukaisesti pienehkö, runsaskukkainen ja tieteellisen lajinimen mukaisesti yleensä 2-lehtinen. Kukat ovat sinisä (joskus valkoisia), ponnet tummansinisiä. Persiansinililja saattaa aloittaa kukintansa meillä Suomessa jo maaliskuussa, pikkusiunilija huhtikuussa, eli ne molemmat ovat idäsinililjaa varhaisempia kukkijoita.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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