AUTUMN SQUILL

Scilla autumnalis

Asparagus Family [Asparagaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8blue
 
flower
flower8azure
 
inner
inner8indigo
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ6 petalsZ3
(3+3)
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8round
 
toxicity
toxicityZmedium
 
rarity
rarityZscarce
 

23rd Aug 2016, sand dunes, St Helens, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Unlike Spring Squill, this flowers in July - Sept. The long narrow leaves have gone by the time it flowers.


23rd Aug 2016, sand dunes, St Helens, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Has a longer spike of flowers than does Spring Squill, and the flowers are not pale blue-purple, but rather more purplish. It has between 4 and 20 flowers which are erect(ish). There are no bracts, however small, just beneath the flowers. The tepals (of which there are 6) are between 3 and 6mm long. The opened seed pods are now being displayed by lower flowers.


23rd Aug 2016, sand dunes, St Helens, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone


23rd Aug 2016, sand dunes, St Helens, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Flowers rather purple-lilac in colour, with dark anthers . The stem is square or fluted here, but your Author doesn't think all are like this.


23rd Aug 2016, sand dunes, St Helens, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
The seed capsules are nearly spherical with a remnant central style poking at at the top and 6 narrow brown remnant petals.


23rd Aug 2016, sand dunes, St Helens, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Opened seed pods, displaying 6 blackish seeds; some having already flown the nest.


Easily mistaken for : Spring Squill (Scilla verna) but that has bracts (which are 5-15mm long) beneath the flowers, has a shorter flower spike and at up to 15cm high is shorter than the 25cm of Autumn Squill, the tepals, at 5-8mm, are longer than the 3-6mm of Autumn Squill. Both species grow in short grassland near the sea, but Spring Squill is much more ubiquitous and gets much further North too all the way up to the Shetland Islands (still near the coast though) than Autumn Squill.

Slight resemblance to : Glory-of-the-Snow but that has petals/sepals which are white in the centre of the flower and anthers which grow from higher up than from where the sepals grow.

A fairly rare [RR] plant which is native and grows in short grassland usually near the sea. It is found in the deep south of England such as in the Channel Islands, South West of England to the South East, south Essex and Surrey.

Once thought to be single species it has recently been found to be a part of a cryptic species complex exhibiting a variety of cytotypes which are visually indistinguishable from one another. Cytotypes may differ in the structure of the chromosomes, or in the differing number of chromosomes (ploidy). Or they might differ by their chloroplast DNA or chloroplast cytotype. By whichever means they differ, it has no effect on their visible characteristics. But it may well have an effect on their secondary metabolites (the chemicals each synthesises), and thus, possibly their smell, but obviously has no effect on their colour otherwise you would be able to see the difference...


  Scilla autumnalis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Asparagaceae  

Distribution
 family8Asparagus family8Asparagaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Scilla
Scilla
(Squills)

AUTUMN SQUILL

Scilla autumnalis

Asparagus Family [Asparagaceae]