Muscari racemosum (L.) Mill.

Grape Hyacinth, Blue Bottle


CC = *
CW = 5
MOC = 5

© SRTurner

Family - Liliaceae

Habit - Perennial forb with bulbs covered with a membranous to papery, smooth, outer coat, lacking the odor of onion or garlic, glabrous.

Stems - Erect scape to 30 cm, glabrous, often glaucous, single from base, unbranched, green below, purplish in inflorescence.

Muscari_racemosum_bulb.jpg Bulb.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Basal, 10-25 cm long, 1-3 mm wide, tubular, hollow, circular in cross-section and grooved longitudinally along the inner side.

Muscari_racemosum_leaves1.jpg Leaves.

© SRTurner

Muscari_racemosum_leaves2.jpg Leaves.

© SRTurner

Inflorescences - Terminal dense indeterminate racemes.


© SRTurner

Flowers - Sepals and petals fused nearly to the tips, urn-shaped to globose, blue, glabrous, with 6 small lobes at apex. Sterile, terminal flowers few, ascending, with stalks 0.5-5.0 mm long and blue to purplish blue perianth 2-4 mm long. Fertile flowers with stalks 2-5 mm long at flowering, elongating in fruit, the perianth 4-5 mm long, narrowly urn-shaped to nearly globose, blue to purplish blue.

Muscari_racemosum_flowers1.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Muscari_racemosum_flowers2.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Muscari_racemosum_flowers3.jpg Flowers.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Capsules, 3-angled, glabrous, glaucous, 5 mm long and broad. Seeds 2 per locule, black.

Muscari_racemosum_fruits1.jpg Infructescence.

© SRTurner

Muscari_racemosum_fruits2.jpg Fruits.

© SRTurner

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Bottomland forests, fields, pastures, roadsides, railroads, and other disturbed areas.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Lookalikes - Muscari botryoides.

Other info. - This species is apparently a relatively recent escape from cultivation in Missouri. As of 2020 it has been reported from five counties in the southeastern region of the state. Beyond Missouri it is found in scattered locations throughout the southeastern U.S. It is also frequently cultivated.

This species is recognized by its clusters of deep blue flowers and narrow, round leaves. There are a number of lookalikes which may be encountered in or near cultivation, and the taxonomy is somewhat uncertain. It has been confused with the morphologically similar western Asian species, M. armeniacum Leichtlin ex Baker, in some of the horticultural literature. Additionally, the plants appear to be very similar to M. neglectum Guss. ex Ten., and this may indeed be the proper identity of the plants shown above. The current trend to a more narrow circumscription of Liliaceae would move this species to the Asparagaceae or Hyacinthaceae.

Photographs taken at Bootleg Access, Washington County, MO, 4-7-2020, and at Silver Mines Recreation Area, Madison County, MO, 4-28-2020 (SRTurner).