This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Hyacinthus Botryoides. Grape Hyacinth.
Cor. campanulata: Pori 3 melliferi germinis.
HYACINTHUS botryoides corollis globosis uniformibus, foliis canaliculato-cylindricis strictis. Linn. Syst. Veget. ed. 14. Murr. p. 336. Aiton Hort. Kew. v. 1. p. 459.
HYACINTHUS racemosus caeruleus major. Bauh. Pin. 42.
HYACINTHUS Botroides caeruleus amoenus. The skie-coloured grape-flower. Park. Par. p. 114. p. 113. f. 5.
The Hyacinthus botryoides, a native of Italy, and cultivated in the time of Gerard and Parkinson, 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 fig. 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.