License: Creative Commons - Attribution-No Derivatives Author: joanne clifford
Scilla Siberica (Siberian Squill) - Also known as Wood Squill
To me, these delicate little bell shaped blue flowers are a welcome sign that spring has arrived. They create a beautiful blue carpet across large swathes of our ravine, and are a delight to look at. Flowering in April and May, they grow no taller than the length of your hand. Interestingly, and disappointingly, when I explored this little flower a little deeper I learned that they are an invasive species and poisonous to animals, they also have a dark and mysterious history.
“The whole plant is poisonous and it is an ingredient in rat poison. Like many poisonous plants, Siberian squill can also be used as a heart medicine if it is administered in the correct dosage. Siberian squill is connected with many beliefs, the oldest of which go back to ancient times: the scientific name of the genus is related to the goddess Scylla of Greek mythology, a beauty who was turned into a terrible sea monster. The superstitious people long regarded Siberian squill as a flower of witches and evil spirits which shouldn’t even be stepped on. It is doubtful that anybody would feel inclined to trample on this herald of the spring, even though its beauty can be enjoyed without any fear of evil spirits.”