It was the French naturalist Pierre Isidore Picot de Lapeyrouse who first described the genus Bellevalia in 1808.

Lapeyrouse named the genus in honour of Pierre Richer de Belleval, a French physician and botanist, born in 1564. Richer de Belleval was responsible for founding the Jardin Des Plants de Montpellier, a botanical garden and arboretum which is still in existence today.

The genus Bellevalia is in the taxonomic Family Asparagaceae and Subfamily Scilloideae.

Kew Science, Plants of the World online database, shows 74 accepted species names.

In his book ‘The Smaller Bulbs’ Brian Mathew describes Bellevalia as, ‘A group of Muscari-like bulbs from Europe and the Middle East, which on the whole have little value as garden plants, interesting as they are.

There are indeed a number of relatively plain members of the genus. But I find they usually warrant a second look, at the colour of their buds, their anthers, the shape and size of their their leaves or seed capsules. I’ve not met one yet that I didn’t like!

And then there are the show stoppers… With some of the most beautiful blues you will see anywhere in the plant kingdom.

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