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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Liliaceae

62. Scilla Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 308. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 146. 1754.

Squill [Greek skilla, squill, the officinal or its source, Urginea maritima, syn. Scilla maritima]

J. McNeill

Herbs, perennial, scapose, from bulbs. Bulbs perennial, ovoid to globose, composed of free scales, progressively renewed annually. Leaves few, basal. Inflorescences racemose or cymose, 1–many-flowered, sometimes bracteate; bracts none or 1, subtending each flower. Flowers: perianth usually blue or purple, rarely white; tepals distinct to base, each 1-veined; stamens 6; filaments inserted at base of perianth, distinct; anthers dorsifixed, introrse; pistil 1, 3-carpellate; ovary superior, 3-locular, septal nectaries present, ovules 1–10 per locule; style simple. Fruits capsular, 3-lobed, subglobose, dehiscence loculicidal. Seeds 3–30, not winged, globose to ellipsoid, elaiosomes present. x = 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

Species ca. 50 (1 in the flora): introduced; Eurasia, especially Mediterranean area and sw Asia; s Africa.

A number of species of Scilla are commonly grown for their early, showy spring flowers, and present the possibility of becoming naturalized. In particular, S. bifolia Linnaeus, two-leaved squill, has been reported in Michigan (E. G. Voss 1972–1985, vol. 1) and northwestern Indiana (F. Swink and G. S. Wilhelm 1994). The summer-flowering hyacinth squill, S. hyacinthoides Linnaeus [Nectaroscilla hyacinthoides (Linnaeus) Parlatore], has been collected along roadsides near Mooringsport, Louisiana, and in Navarro County, Texas; it is readily distinguished from the spring-flowering species by its tall scapes (30–80 cm) with more than 40 flowers, and its more numerous leaves (8–10).

F. Speta (1998, 1998b) drastically split Scilla, placing the Eurasian members into 10–12 mostly small genera on the basis of molecular (M. Pfosser and F. Speta 1999) and karyological (J. Greilhuber 1982; J. Greilhuber et al. 1981; F. Speta 1979) studies, as well as morphological data. Some of these segregate genera correspond to subgenera and sections recognized in other Eurasian treatments over the past 75 years (e.g., P. Chouard 1930; J. McNeill 1980; E. V. Mordak 1984), but others represent even finer splitting.


Chouard, P. 1930. Types de Développement de l’Appareil Végétatif Chez les Scillées. D.Sc. thesis. University of Paris. [Preprinted from Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot., sér. 10, 13: 131–322. 1931.] McNeill, J. 1980. Scilla. In: T. G. Tutin et al., eds. 1964–1980. Flora Europaea. 5 vols. Cambridge. Vol. 5, pp. 41–43. Mordak, E. V. 1984. Scilla. In: P. H. Davis, ed. 1965–1988. Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands. 10 vols. Edinburgh. Vol. 8, pp. 214–224. Speta, F. 1998b. Systematische Analyse der Gattung Scilla L. (Hyacinthaceae). Phyton (Horn) 38: 1–141.

Lower Taxon


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