Classification Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Tracheophyta
Superdivision Spermatophyta
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Liliopsida
Subclass Liliidae
Order Liliales
Family Liliaceae
Genus Scilla
Species Scilla siberica
Siberian squill

Date: April 12, 2009. Location: Private property


Scientific Name: Scilla siberica

Common Name: Siberian squill

Origin: Alien; from the Mediterranean region

Notes: This is an attractive landscaping plant, available from nurseries and used to add some early color to planted ground covers. The small plants are noticed in early spring (April) when they produce upright floral scapes (stems) about 6 inches high bearing one to three blue nodding flowers.

The taxonomy is unsettled. The taxonomic system developed by Arthur Cronquist (and used here) placed the genus Scilla in the Family Liliaceae. More recent systems e.g. those by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG) have reorganized the rankings of many of the monocotyledonous plants assigning Scilla to other families—Hyacinthaceae or Asparagaceae (see subfamily Scilloideae).

Toxic (saponins and bufadienolides) protect the plants from rodent herbivores but may also be a hazard to children and pets (especially cats). The bulb looks like a small onion and contains most of the toxins. No part of the plant should be eaten.

Additional references: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

Field Marks for Identification:

Flowers: April; tepal lobes blue with a darker blue vein down the middle, 6 free stamen, anthers and pollen blue, a single style with capitate stigma; inflorescence, emerging from the bulb, one to several upright scapes 6 ±2 inches tall with 1-3 flowers per scape; ovary superior with 3 locules.

Leaves: 2 to 4, basal, linear, glabrous, usually less than 6 inches long.

Glossaries of botanical terms: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

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