Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Muscari botryoides (L.) Bak.

Fully-hardy, slender bulbous perennial with semi-erect, narrowly spoon-shaped leaves and dense racemes of spherical bright blue flowers with white mouths in spring.  To 20cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The Hyacinthus botryoides, a native of Italy, and cultivated in the time of Gerard and Parkinson [by 1596], is now become scarce with us, being only to be accidentally met with in long-established gardens; we first saw it in the garden of our very worthy and much valued friend, Mr. John Chorley, of Tottenham, to whose lady my collection stands indebted for several rare and valuable plants.

This species increases sufficiently fast by offsets, but in the open border does not very readily produce flowering stems: as both it and the racemosus are apt to become troublesome in a garden from their great increase, we would recommend their bulbs to be placed in moderately sized pots filled with light earth, and plunged in the borders where they are designed to flower; in the autumn they should be regularly taken out the offsets thrown away, and about half a dozen of the largest bulbs left, all of which will most probably flower at the usual time, the end of March or beginning of April.

Parkinson, who most admirably describes this and the racemosus, enumerates three varieties, viz. the white, the blush-coloured, and the branched; the first is frequently imported with other bulbs from Holland, the second and third we have not seen; the latter, if we may judge from Parkinson’s figure in his Parad. is a most curious plant, and was obtained, as Clusius reports, from seeds of the white variety; whether it now exists is deserving of inquiry.  

The botryoides differs from the racemosus, in having its leaves upright, its bunch of flowers smaller, the flowers themselves larger, rounder, of a paler and brighter blue.’  [BM t.157/1791].  OFG f.272/1854.  Redouté Les Liliacées Plate 361/1802-15.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.328/1843].


Published Jan 07, 2010 - 02:40 PM | Last updated Jan 07, 2010 - 02:49 PM

Shown are semi-erect, spoon-shaped leaves and raceme of spherical bright blue flowers. Redout? Les Liliac?es Plate 361, 1802-15.

Muscari botryoides L. | Redouté Les Liliacées Plate 361/1802-15 | BHL

Family Hyacinthaceae
Region of origin

Central and South-east Europe

Common Name

Common grape hyacinth

Name in the Camden Park Record

Muscari botryoides 

Confidence level high