May 28, 2017

The Mighty Squill

Puschkinia scilliodes

Janine Pineo Photo | Puschkinia scilliodes

Plant a tiny bulb and get a flower. It is a mind-boggling concept, especially when the wee flower from that wee bulb is among the first to bloom once the ground thaws in spring. Such is the case with Puschkinia scilloides, a native of Turkey and Lebanon that is hardy to Zone 4, which is most of Maine. Also known as striped squill, this plant generally is only 3 to 4 inches in height, but it can reach a couple inches more than that. Squill is a good investment, too, since the plant readily naturalizes by seed and new bulb growth. To top all of that is the mere fact it has one of the loveliest fragrances of any spring bulb, with a similarity to that of the flowering plum, a shrub that blossoms a few weeks after the squill has bloomed.