Muscari

Muscari have their historic roots dug in across the Mediterranean, Central and Southern Europe, Northern Africa and parts of Asia.

Until recently the genus had four subgenera; Botryanthus, Leopoldia, Muscari and Pseudomuscari. Botryanthus being the largest group. The names Leopoldia and Pseudomuscari were accepted species.

At present POWO – Plants Of the World Online – identifies all of the subgenera as Muscari, but research and discourse continue on the matter.

The existence of the many synonyms in the related literature can be downright confusing. It certainly makes accurate plant identification and naming an interesting pastime.

Flowers looking like bunches of grapes

Muscari are a genus of perennial bulbous plants, whose urn shaped flowers look a little like bunches of grapes. This has earnt them the common name of ‘Grape Hyacinths’.

Flowers are held either tightly or loosely in a raceme or cluster, which spirals around a central scape or stem. The short stalks of the flowers all attach to the scape which itself comes directly from the bulb. As the raceme ages, the spacing between flowers can increase making them appear to relax. Flowers age from the bottom to the top of the raceme. Upper flowers may be a different colour and shape to lower ones. Individual flowers are composed of six fused tepals, forming a spherical or obvoid shape. Each flower is constricted at the end which forms a mouth. The ends of the tepals around this mouth show as lobes or teeth. The teeth may be a different colour to the rest of the tepal.

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