common grape hyacinth (Muscari botryoides)
common grape hyacinth
Hyacinthus botryoides L.
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name for common
grape hyacinth is Muscari botryoides (L.) Mill.
NATIVE STATUS: Introduced, United States and Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: Low growing plant, height: 8–20 cm (3.2–8 in.) with stem bristly
or flat, leafless scape.
Leaves: Common grape hyacinth has basal, fleshy, wide, flat, erect linear
leaves (3-8 mm.) and a leafless flower stalk terminated by a crowded ra-
ceme deep blue, perfect flowers.
Flowers: The lower fertile flowers point downwards, while upper ones,
usually paler and sterile, point upwards. The dense raceme is oblong to
cylindrical, 2.5 to 6 cm. long., in bloom becoming longer and more spaced
out, flowers nodding, uppermost smaller than others. The perianth is globe
to pitccher shaped, 2 to 3 mm. long, con- stricted at the throat, sapphir
dark-blue (rarely white) with 6 paler, recurved teeth. There are 6 stamens,
attached to the perianth tube.
Fruit/Seeds: Comon grape hyacinth has round, 3-edged, 4–6 mm (0.16–
0.25 in.) long capsules.
Roots: Bulb with greyish brown shell.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Common grape hyacinth propogates
itself by reseeding.
HABITAT TYPES: Meadows, thickets and roadsides in Eastern North
America, where it is a garden escape.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Common grape hyacinth prefers light
(sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained
soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow
in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry or moist soil.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Grape hyacinth blooms in April and
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: This introduced species has a very
sporadic distribution. It primarily occurs in the eastern United States
(although not the far southeastern states of Florida, Georgia, or South
Carolina). It extends north to New England and into the Canadian mari-
time proviinces (it has not been reported in Maine or New Brunswick).
It extends west through the Ohio Valley region and into the mid-west,
although it is not consistent (it has been reported in Nebraska and Texas)
but not Oklahoma. It is generally absent in the southwest states and Rocky
Mountain states and provinces (except Utah) and also occurs in the far
Pacific states and provinces (California north to British Columbia). It has
been reported in Ontario.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: Grape hyacinths have sterile flowers on
the end of their racemes whose only function is to attract the attention of
potential pollinators. Having noticed the plant, bees find fertile flowers
containing nectar at the bottom of the raceme.
Common grape hyacinth is a popular ornamental.
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