ⓘ Amethyst meadow squill. Scilla litardierei, the amethyst meadow squill or Dalmatian scilla, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae. A bulbou ..

                                     

ⓘ Amethyst meadow squill

Scilla litardierei, the amethyst meadow squill or Dalmatian scilla, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae. A bulbous perennial, it is grown for its blue grape-hyacinth like flowers, blooming in late spring, much later than the more popular Siberian squill and later than Muscari which it resembles. Originating in the western Balkans, it was introduced to western Europe in 1827. It has become much more easily available since 2004.

In its original habitat in Slovenia it is considered an endangered species, flowering in May–June.

                                     

1. Description

Scilla litardierei has 3-6 grass-like leaves, 3-8mm wide, tapering to a point. Up to 70 blue-violet flower buds are borne on each stem in a dense raceme, opening into star-shaped flowers, 15–20 cm high. Preferring partial shade, it will naturalise and spread in favourable conditions.

                                     

2. Taxonomy

To quote Stedje 2001: "The definition of genera and the assignment of species to genera within the family Hyacinthaceae or subfamily Scilleae of the family Liliaceae, have troubled taxonomists since Linnaeus. The group is poor in qualitative characters, which has made it difficult to define stable genera based on good diagnostic characters. Species have often been moved from genus to genus either due to different opinions on generic delimitation or to misinterpretation of characters."

Based on DNA sequence studies, the Austrian botanist Franz Speta prefers to re-ascribe this species into a separate genus, Chouardia, within the Hyacintheae.

The preferred name is Scilla litardierei.

The synonyms Scilla amethystina Fish., Scilla pratensis Waldst. & Kit., Scilla italica Host and Scilla nutans Alsch. are no longer valid.

                                     

3. Cultivation

In cultivation in the UK Scilla litardierei has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. It is hardy down to −20 °C −4 °F.

The best known cultivar is Orjen’, originating from Mount Orjen in Montenegro in 1971.