- For the town, see Scilla, Calabria. For the given name, see Priscilla. For the mythological monster, see Scylla.
Scilla (//; Squill) is a genus of about 50 to 80 bulb-forming perennial herbs in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae, native to woodlands, subalpine meadows, and seashores throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle-East. A few species are also naturalized in Australia, New Zealand and North America. Their flowers are usually blue, but white, pink, and purple types are known; most flower in early spring, but a few are autumn-flowering.
Scilla has most recently been classified as belonging to the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae; the subfamily was formerly treated as a separate family, Hyacinthaceae. Prior to that it was placed in the Hyacintheae tribe of the Liliaceae family.
The precise number of Scilla species in the genus depends on which proposals to split the genus are accepted. For a discussion of the relationship of Scilla to the closely related genus, Chionodoxa, see that page. Other proposals separate particularly the Eurasian species into a number of smaller genera such as Othocallis Salisb., e.g. Scilla siberica would become Othocallis siberica.
Several African species previously classified in Scilla have been removed to the genus Ledebouria. The best known of these is the common houseplant still sometimes known as Scilla violacea but now properly Ledebouria socialis.
As of November 2011, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families accepts 81 species:
- Scilla achtenii De Wild.
- Scilla africana Borzì & Mattei
- Scilla albanica Turrill
- Scilla amoena L. – Star Squill, Star Hyacinth
- Scilla andria Speta
- Scilla antunesii Engl.
- Scilla arenaria Baker
- Scilla begoniifolia A.Chev.
- Scilla benguellensis Baker
- Scilla berthelotii Webb & Berthel.
- Scilla bifolia L. – Alpine Squill
- Scilla bithynica Boiss. – Bithynian Squill
- Scilla bussei Dammer
- Scilla chlorantha Baker
- Scilla ciliata Baker
- Scilla cilicica Siehe
- Scilla congesta Baker
- Scilla cretica (Boiss. & Heldr.) Speta
- Scilla cydonia Speta
- Scilla dimartinoi Brullo & Pavone
- Scilla dualaensis Poelln.
- Scilla engleri T.Durand & Schinz
- Scilla flaccidula Baker
- Scilla forbesii (Baker) Speta syn. Chionodoxa forbesii
- Scilla gabunensis Baker
- Scilla gracillima Engl.
- Scilla haemorrhoidalis Webb & Berthel.
- Scilla hildebrandtii Baker
- Scilla huanica Poelln.
- Scilla hyacinthoides L.
- Scilla ingridiae Speta
- Scilla jaegeri K.Krause
- Scilla katendensis De Wild.
- Scilla kladnii Schur
- Scilla kurdistanica Speta
- Scilla lakusicii ?ilic
- Scilla latifolia Willd. ex Schult. & Schult.f.
- Scilla laxiflora Baker
- Scilla ledienii Engl.
- Scilla leepii Speta
- Scilla libanotica Speta
- Scilla lilio-hyacinthus L. – Pyrenean Squill
- Scilla litardierei Breistr., syn. Chouardia litardierei, Scilla amethystina, Scilla pratensis, Scilla albanica, Scilla italica – Amethyst Meadow Squill, Dalmatian Scilla
- Scilla lochiae (Meikle) Speta
- Scilla luciliae (Boiss.) Speta
- Scilla lucis Speta
- Scilla madeirensis Menezes – Madeiran Squill
- Scilla melaina Speta
- Scilla merinoi S.Ortiz
- Scilla mesopotamica Speta
- Scilla messeniaca Boiss.
- Scilla mischtschenkoana Grossh., syn. Scilla tubergeniana – Tubergen Squill
- Scilla monanthos K.Koch
- Scilla monophyllos Link
- Scilla morrisii Meikle
- Scilla nana (Schult. & Schult.f.) Speta
- Scilla odorata Link
- Scilla oubangluensis Hua
- Scilla paui Lacaita
- Scilla peruviana L. – Portuguese Squill, Corymbose Squill, Cuban Lily
- Scilla petersii Engl.
- Scilla platyphylla Baker
- Scilla ramburei Boiss.
- Scilla reuteri Speta
- Scilla rosenii K.Koch
- Scilla sardensis (Whittall ex Barr & Sayden) Speta
- Scilla schweinfurthii Engl.
- Scilla seisumsiana Rukšans & Zetterl.
- Scilla siberica Haw. – Siberian squill
- Scilla simiarum Baker
- Scilla sodalicia N.E.Br.
- Scilla tayloriana Rendle
- Scilla textilis Rendle
- Scilla uyuiensis Rendle.
- Scilla verdickii De Wild.
- Scilla verna Huds. – Spring Squill
- Scilla villosa Desf.
- Scilla vindobonensis Speta
- Scilla voethorum Speta
- Scilla welwitschii Poelln.
- Scilla werneri De Wild.
- Scilla autumnalis – Autumn Squill: see Prospero autumnale
- Scilla maritima – Sea Squill: see Drimia maritima
- Scilla nutans – Common Bluebell: see Hyacinthoides non-scripta
- Scilla siehei – Glory-of-the-snow: see Chionodoxa siehei
Scilla peruviana is of interest for its name; it is a native of southwest Europe, not of Peru. When Carl Linnaeus described the species in 1753, he was given specimens imported from Spain aboard a ship named Peru, and was misled into thinking the specimens had come from that country. The rules of botanical naming do not allow a scientific name to be changed merely because it is potentially confusing.
Cultivation and uses
Many species, notably S. siberica, are grown in gardens for their attractive early spring flowers.