, commonly known as spring squill
, is a flowering plant
native to Western Europe
. It belongs to the squill genus Scilla
. Its star-like blue flowers
are produced during the spring.
It is a small plant, usually reaching 5-15 centimetres in height. It is perennial
and grows from a bulb
which is 10-15 millimetres across and ovoid
in shape. Two to seven leaves
grow from the base of the plant; they are long and narrow, measuring 3-20 cm by 2-5 mm. The flowers grow in a dense cluster of two to twelve at the top of the upright stem. They are scentless and have six violet-blue tepals
, 5-8 mm long. Each flower has a 5-15 mm long, bluish bract
at the base. The seeds
are ovoid and black. The diploid
number of chromosomes
is 20 or 22.
The plant occurs from Portugal
north through Spain
, Great Britain
(particularly the west coast) and Ireland
(mainly along the east coast), reaching as far as the Faroe Islands
. It is found in short dry grassy areas, usually near the sea. It is one of the key components of the H7
plant community in the British National Vegetation Classification
system. It was chosen as the county flower
for County Down
in Northern Ireland
after a public vote organised by the charity Plantlife
- Stace, Clive A. (1997) New Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press.
- Tutin, T. G. et al. (1980) Flora Europaea, Volume 5. Cambridge University Press.