This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, snow and glory). Liliaceae. Glory-of-the-Snow. Very early-blooming hardy bulbs, flowers and leaves appearing together.
Closely allied to Scilla, but differs, among other characters, in having a short tube to the corolla: flowers blue (running into white and red forms), with recurved-spreading acute segments, dilated filaments, and small or capitate stigma. - Four species, Crete to Asia Minor.
These are among the best of early-flowering plants, blooming in February, March and April, according to the locality, with the early snowdrops and scillas. Since their introduction to cultivation by Maw in 1877, they have been widely cultivated under the popular name of "glory-of-the-snow," in allusion to their early-blooming habit. C. Lucilise is the most widely cultivated species. This varies much in color, the type having flowers whose petals are more or less deeply tipped with blue, shading to white at their bases. C. Luciliae also occurs with pure white flowers, and in reddish and pink forms. C. sardensis has* smaller flowers of a deeper tone of blue and without the white markings of the petals. There are two varieties of this, one with white and the other with black stamens. C. grandiflora is the largest-flowered of the group, the type being slaty blue with dark lines down the center of the segments; however, like others of the genus, there are pink and white forms sometimes found in collected bulbs, although somewhat rare. C. Tmolusii, one of the kinds sent out by Whittall of Smyrna some years ago, is very like C. Lucilise in form but of a deeper blue and a distinctly later flowering habit.
Chionodoxas hybridize with Scilla, and the hybrids are sometimes known as chionoscillas. - Chionodoxas thrive in any fertile soil, well drained and not too heavy, and in any exposure, the main requisite for growth being that they have light and an adequate supply of moisture while growing and until the foliage is ripened. The bulbs should be planted about 3 inches deep, and closely, say an inch or less apart. Lift and replant about the third year. They need no winter covering. They flower well in pots in winter in a coolhouse temperature. Must be forced only gently, and given abundance of air, light and moisture. They are increased by offsets and seeds, which they produce freely. Under favorable conditions they increase rapidly by self-sown seeds. Preferably, seeds should be sown in a frame, and may be expected to germinate the following winter. Under ordinary conditions, self-sown seeds germinate early in the year, or late winter. (J. N. Gerard.)
Luciliae, Boiss. Fig. 921. Bulb ovoid, brown-coated: leaves long and narrow, 2 or 3 with each stem: scape 3-6 in. high, bearing a dozen or less bright blue, more or less hanging, white-centered flowers Asia Minor and Crete. B.M. 6433. Gn. 28, p. 179. - Runs into many forms, one of which has white flowers C. gigantea, Hort., is a larger form of it, distinct in habit. C. grandiflora, Hort., is a large garden form, with flowers violet-blue and white in the throat. variety Forbesii, Hort., somewhat taller and bearing more flowers C. amabilis Leichtlinii, Hort., is a very handsome form, 2 weeks later than the others: flowers 1 3/4 in. across, with broad full segments of soft creamy white shaded rose-purple. C. Tmolusii, Hort., is a late-blooming form, bright blue and white, apparently a variant of C. Luciliae.
Fig. 921. Chionodoxa Luciliae. (X 1/2)
Drude. Flowers 2-6, smaller, much darker blue with no white in the eye, the perianth - limb twice longer than the tube: leaves channeled. Sardis. Gn. 28:178. - Probably a form of C. Luciliae.
cretic a, Boiss. & Held. Slender: flowers smaller and fewer (1-2 on a scape) than C. Luciliae, white or very pale blue. Crete. - Of little horticultural value.
Allenii, Hort. (Chio-noscilla Allenii, Hort.). Perianth segments cut to the base: habit of C. Luciliae, but the white eye is indistinct. Supposed natural hybrid of Scilla bifolia and Chionodoxa Luciliae. G.C. III. 21:191. There is said to be another C. Allenii that is a direct selection probably from C. Luciliae, very like variety grandiflora. Chionoscilla Penryi is another Chionodoxax Scilla hybrid, the exact parentage not being stated. L. H. B.