Archive for the ‘Family: Hyacinth’ Category

Named after a Russian botanist (Apollo Mussin-Pushkin), the Puschkinia (Puschkinia scilloides) is also in the hyacinth family and related to Spring Beauties (Siberian Squills) and Glory-of-the-snow.  I found these dots of white among the more common spring beauties on a hillside.  On closer inspection, the flowers had delicate lines of periwinkle.

Puschkinia (Porslinshyacint), Stockholm, Sweden

A few facts:

  • Puschkinia are Native to Asia and the Middle East.
  • In Swedish, the Puschkinia is called ‘Porslinshyacint’: literally ‘Porcelain Hyacinth’.
  • The scilloides part of the latin name means ‘like the scilla’, the spring beauty squills.

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Closely related to Spring Beauties featured in the previous post, the Glory-of-the-Snow (Chinodoxa, in the Hyacinth family) appears at the same time in early spring.  I found them in bright blue clumps with their star-like faces pointed upwards hidden among the darker blue of spring beauties.

Glory of the Snow, growing among Spring Beauties, Stockholm, Sweden

As the name suggests, these flowers are hardy early spring bloomers.  What makes them different than spring beauties, though, is the cup the stamens form in the center of the flower.   Also, the tepals are not free and are joined at the base.  Usually a flower has petals and sepals outside the petals, but a tepal is when the petal and sepal are indistinguishable from one another.


Glory of the Snow, April, Stockholm, Sweden


Glory of the Snow, Stockholm, Sweden

In Swedish, this flower is called skilla (plural: skillor).  It must be because some botonists consider this species to be in the Scilla genus along with spring beauties (siberian squills).

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This week, my wandering eye has been distracted by the spreading blue patches of spring beauties.  They have appeared in Stockholm by the thousands and light up the grass with an alluring, intense shade of blue.  So modestly they bend their heads towards the ground, but if you lift their chins you’ll see they truly are the beauties of spring.

Spring Beauty (Rysk blåstjärna), Stockholm, Sweden

Also called Siberian squill (Scilla siberica, in Swedish: Rysk blåstjärna, literally ‘Russian blue stars’), they are native to Siberia as the name suggests, so they are naturally made to withstand the unpredictable first weeks of spring.  The ice on the water has finally melted here, so I think we’re in the clear… but you never know, it did snow less than two weeks ago!  I know these squills as spring beauties, but I don’t remember seeing so many in one place as here.  Maybe my eyes are more thirsty for spring this year after experiencing the Swedish winter.

Scilla siberica

Spring Beauties (Swedish: Rysk blåstjärna), Stockholm, Sweden

Spring beauties have some closely related siblings in the Hyacynthaceae family, but you can tell this is a Scilla (a squill) because its stamens are separate.  All squills form bulbs and are perennial.

Spring Beauties (Rysk blåstjärna), Stockholm, Sweden

The sun is setting later and later – today it went down after 8.  I felt inspired, so I went for a quick jog in the dusk and came across a swarm of spring beauties on a hillside I hadn’t passed by before.  I stopped for a minute to take a closer look – they had shut their flowers for the night!  What intelligent plants.  I’ll take their cue and shut down tonight as well.

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