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At first glance of these leaves carpeting the woodland floor beside a stream I thought it wild garlic. As I walked closer to it, with no garlicky odour in the air, I realised it was not wild garlic! This plant prefers wet places such as stream banks and woods, like wild garlic.

In French this particular species is commonly called Jacinthe des Pyrénées. In English, lily-hyacinth or Pyrenean squill. This species is a member of the Asparagaceae botanical family.

Pyrenean Squill or Lily-Hyacinth

Mrs Grieve mentions squill in a Modern Herbal. In particular she discusses Urginea scilla. Though in the same botanical family this plant prefers dry soils. It has many common names including maritime squill. The maritime squill looks quite different from the Pyrenean squill in my photographs.

However, interestingly she notes the origin of the word ‘scilla’ to be Greek. Apparently the word translates as ‘excite’ or ‘disturb’.

Discussing the particular plant species from my photographs, S. lilio-hyacinthus, Mrs Grieve notes the bulbs were utilised as a purgative by inhabitants of the Pyrenees.

Seems a rather appropriate digestively ‘disturbing’ name for this pretty plant and certainly not to be confused with wild garlic!

Nicole

BSc (Hons) Herbal Medicine /
Diploma in Aromatherapy & Essential Oil Science

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