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Alpine Squill

Scilla bifolia

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asparagaceae (Asparagus)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, meadows, mountains, roadsides, rocky places, woodland.

Blue, 6 petals
Blue, star-shaped flowers, appearing in clusters of 2 to 10. The flowers are each about 2cm wide. They appear bell-shaped when not open. The flowers are upward facing and not nodding. The similar looking Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica) has nodding flowers which are also a darker shade of blue. Occasionally, the flowers of Alpine Squill can be white, pink or purple.
A capsule, measuring up to 8mm across.
A bulbous perennial with long, narrow, paired, grass-like basal leaves. It differs from other species of Squill in that is has only got two leaves per plant. The stems are erect and unbranched.
Other Names:
Early Spring Squill, Two-leaf Squill, Two-leaved Squill, Wood Squill.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Scilla bifolia, also known as "Wood Squill" or "Two-leaved Squill," is a small perennial bulbous plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the Asparagaceae family. This plant typically grows to a height of 10-15 cm and has two basal leaves and small, blue or purple flowers. It typically blooms in early spring, usually before the leaves appear. S. bifolia is commonly found in woodlands, meadows, and along rocky slopes. It prefers well-drained soils and partial shade. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions and is often used in rock gardens and as an early spring groundcover. The bulbs are poisonous and should not be ingested.


Alpine Squill, also known as Scilla bifolia, is a small perennial plant that is native to the mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. It is a member of the Asparagaceae family and is closely related to other members of the genus Scilla, such as the common bluebell.

Alpine Squill is a hardy plant that can thrive in a variety of conditions, from rocky alpine slopes to dry meadows and even in sandy or gravelly soil. It is a low-growing plant, usually no more than 20 cm in height, and produces delicate blue or white flowers in early spring.

One of the most striking features of Alpine Squill is its flowers. Each stem produces one or two flowers, which are typically bell-shaped and have six petals. The petals are a bright, vibrant blue color, although white and pink varieties can also be found. The flowers are a valuable source of nectar for early-emerging insects such as bees and butterflies.

Another interesting feature of Alpine Squill is its bulb. The bulb is small and typically only a few centimeters in diameter, but it is capable of surviving in harsh conditions. It can remain dormant for long periods of time, waiting for the right conditions to sprout and grow into a new plant. This makes Alpine Squill a resilient and adaptable plant, well-suited to survive in mountainous regions where the climate can be unpredictable.

Alpine Squill has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It is believed to have diuretic and expectorant properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, from coughs and colds to heart and kidney disorders. However, it is important to note that the plant can be toxic if ingested in large quantities, and should not be used without proper medical supervision.

Alpine Squill is a fascinating plant with many interesting features. Its delicate flowers, hardy bulb, and medicinal properties make it an important part of the natural environment and a valuable resource for humans. Whether you encounter it growing wild in the mountains or in a carefully-tended garden, Alpine Squill is a plant that is sure to capture your imagination and leave you with a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.

Alpine Squill is also popular among gardeners and is frequently grown as an ornamental plant. Its small size and vibrant flowers make it an attractive addition to rock gardens, borders, and other small-scale landscaping projects. It is also a popular choice for container gardening and can be grown in pots or window boxes.

When growing Alpine Squill, it is important to choose a location with well-draining soil and partial shade. The plant prefers cool, moist conditions and may struggle in hot or dry climates. It is a low-maintenance plant that does not require much care once established, although it may benefit from occasional fertilization and pruning to promote healthy growth.

Alpine Squill is also a popular subject for botanical artists and photographers. Its delicate flowers and intricate structure make it a fascinating subject for close-up photography and detailed botanical illustrations.

Unfortunately, like many wildflowers, Alpine Squill is threatened by habitat loss and overcollection. The plant is protected by law in some countries, and efforts are underway to conserve its natural habitats and promote sustainable harvesting practices.

Alpine Squill is a fascinating and versatile plant that is well-suited to mountainous environments and has a rich history of medicinal and cultural uses. Its striking flowers and hardy bulb make it a popular choice for gardeners, while its unique features make it an attractive subject for botanical artists and photographers. As with many wildflowers, however, it is important to respect the plant and its natural habitat and take steps to protect it for future generations.

Alpine Squill is not only appreciated for its beauty and medicinal properties, but it also has ecological importance. The plant plays a vital role in its natural habitat as a source of nectar for early-emerging insects, including bees and butterflies. It is also an important food source for grazing animals in alpine meadows, such as mountain goats and sheep.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Alpine Squill has a long history of use in traditional folklore and culture. In some parts of Europe, the plant was believed to have magical properties and was used in rituals and spells. It was also associated with the Christian holiday of Easter and was used to decorate churches and homes during the spring season.

Alpine Squill is closely related to the common bluebell, which is native to the UK. However, despite their similarities, the two plants are not interchangeable, and it is important to be able to differentiate between them. Alpine Squill has two leaves per stem, while the common bluebell has multiple leaves per stem. Additionally, the flowers of Alpine Squill are a brighter, more vibrant blue color than those of the common bluebell.

Overall, Alpine Squill is a fascinating and valuable plant that has captured the imaginations of people for centuries. From its delicate flowers and hardy bulb to its ecological and cultural significance, the plant continues to inspire awe and admiration among nature lovers and plant enthusiasts alike.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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