For the town, see Scilla, Calabria. For the given name, see Priscilla. For the mythological monster, see Scylla.

Scilla (/ˈsɪlə/; Squill) is a genus of about 50[3] to 80[4]bulb-forming perennialherbs in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae,[5] 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.[2][6][7] 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.[8] 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:[4]

  1. Scilla achteniiDe Wild.
  2. Scilla africanaBorzì & Mattei
  3. Scilla albanicaTurrill
  4. Scilla amoenaL. – Star Squill, Star Hyacinth
  5. Scilla andriaSpeta
  6. Scilla antunesiiEngl.
  7. Scilla arenariaBaker
  8. Scilla begoniifoliaA.Chev.
  9. Scilla benguellensisBaker
  10. Scilla berthelotiiWebb & Berthel.
  11. Scilla bifoliaL. – Alpine Squill
  12. Scilla bithynicaBoiss. – Bithynian Squill
  13. Scilla busseiDammer
  14. Scilla chloranthaBaker
  15. Scilla ciliataBaker
  16. Scilla cilicicaSiehe
  17. Scilla congestaBaker
  18. Scilla cretica(Boiss. & Heldr.) Speta
  19. Scilla cydoniaSpeta
  20. Scilla dimartinoiBrullo & Pavone
  21. Scilla dualaensisPoelln.
  22. Scilla engleriT.Durand & Schinz
  23. Scilla flaccidulaBaker
  24. Scilla forbesii(Baker) Speta syn. Chionodoxa forbesii
  25. Scilla gabunensisBaker
  26. Scilla gracillimaEngl.
  27. Scilla haemorrhoidalisWebb & Berthel.
  28. Scilla hildebrandtiiBaker
  29. Scilla huanicaPoelln.
  30. Scilla hyacinthoidesL.
  31. Scilla ingridiaeSpeta
  32. Scilla jaegeriK.Krause
  33. Scilla katendensisDe Wild.
  34. Scilla kladniiSchur
  35. Scilla kurdistanicaSpeta
  36. Scilla lakusicii?ilic
  37. Scilla latifoliaWilld. ex Schult. & Schult.f.
  38. Scilla laxifloraBaker
  39. Scilla ledieniiEngl.
  40. Scilla leepiiSpeta
  41. Scilla libanoticaSpeta
  42. Scilla lilio-hyacinthusL. – Pyrenean Squill
  43. Scilla litardiereiBreistr., syn. Chouardia litardierei, Scilla amethystina, Scilla pratensis, Scilla albanica, Scilla italica – Amethyst Meadow Squill, Dalmatian Scilla
  44. Scilla lochiae(Meikle) Speta
  45. Scilla luciliae(Boiss.) Speta
  46. Scilla lucisSpeta
  47. Scilla madeirensisMenezes – Madeiran Squill
  48. Scilla melainaSpeta
  49. Scilla merinoiS.Ortiz
  50. Scilla mesopotamicaSpeta
  51. Scilla messeniacaBoiss.
  52. Scilla mischtschenkoanaGrossh., syn. Scilla tubergeniana – Tubergen Squill
  53. Scilla monanthosK.Koch
  54. Scilla monophyllosLink
  55. Scilla morrisiiMeikle
  56. Scilla nana(Schult. & Schult.f.) Speta
  57. Scilla odorataLink
  58. Scilla oubangluensisHua
  59. Scilla pauiLacaita
  60. Scilla peruvianaL. – Portuguese Squill, Corymbose Squill, Cuban Lily
  61. Scilla petersiiEngl.
  62. Scilla platyphyllaBaker
  63. Scilla rambureiBoiss.
  64. Scilla reuteriSpeta
  65. Scilla roseniiK.Koch
  66. Scilla sardensis(Whittall ex Barr & Sayden) Speta
  67. Scilla schweinfurthiiEngl.
  68. Scilla seisumsianaRukšans & Zetterl.
  69. Scilla sibericaHaw. – Siberian squill
  70. Scilla simiarumBaker
  71. Scilla sodaliciaN.E.Br.
  72. Scilla taylorianaRendle
  73. Scilla textilisRendle
  74. Scilla uyuiensisRendle.
  75. Scilla verdickiiDe Wild.
  76. Scilla vernaHuds. – Spring Squill
  77. Scilla villosaDesf.
  78. Scilla vindobonensisSpeta
  79. Scilla voethorumSpeta
  80. Scilla welwitschiiPoelln.
  81. Scilla werneriDe Wild.

Formerly included

Scilla peruviana

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.