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Autumn Squill

Scilla autumnalis

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, rocky places, seaside, woodland.

Blue, 6 petals
Bluish-purple, bell-shaped or star-shaped flowers which appear in stalked terminal spikes at the top of the plant. The flowers are bluebell-like in appearance. The flowers appear before the leaves. Similar in appearance to Spring Squill (Scilla verna) but flowers in later summer or autumn and the flowers are more purplish in colour and are without bracts.
The fruit is a 6-chambered capsule or pod.
A bulbous, clump-forming perennial flower with narrow, linear, simple basal leaves. The stems are erect in nature.
Other Names:
Autumn-flowering Squill, Starry Hyacinth, Winter Hyacinth.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Scilla autumnalis, also known as "Autumn Squill", is a small perennial bulbous plant that is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the Asparagaceae family. This plant typically grows to a height of 10-20 cm and has narrow, linear leaves and small, blue or purple flowers. It typically blooms in late autumn or early winter. S. autumnalis 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.


Autumn Squill, also known as Scilla autumnalis, is a delicate flowering plant that is native to the Mediterranean region, but can now be found throughout Europe and in some parts of Asia. This plant is known for its beautiful, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in autumn, adding a burst of color to gardens and natural areas as summer transitions into winter.

Autumn Squill grows from a bulb that can reach up to 4 cm in diameter. The bulbs are round, with a papery outer layer, and can be white or yellowish in color. The flowers, which are produced on stalks that can reach up to 20 cm tall, are a pale pink to lilac color, with six petals that form a bell shape. The flowers are usually produced in clusters of two to six, and each flower can reach up to 2 cm in length.

The leaves of the Autumn Squill are long and narrow, and grow in a rosette at the base of the plant. They are typically a bluish-green color, and can reach up to 20 cm in length.

Autumn Squill is a hardy plant that can thrive in a variety of conditions, but prefers well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. It is a popular choice for gardens and natural areas because it is low-maintenance and can grow in a variety of soil types. It is also a valuable plant for wildlife, as the flowers provide a source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.

One of the unique features of Autumn Squill is that it blooms in the fall, while most other spring-blooming bulbs are dormant. This makes it a valuable addition to gardens and natural areas that may be lacking in color during the fall months. The flowers of Autumn Squill can also be used in cut flower arrangements, where they add a touch of color and elegance.

Despite its delicate appearance, Autumn Squill is a hardy plant that can survive harsh winter conditions. The bulbs can be left in the ground over winter, and will continue to bloom year after year with proper care.

Autumn Squill is a beautiful and hardy plant that is a valuable addition to gardens and natural areas. Its delicate, bell-shaped flowers provide a burst of color in the fall, and its low-maintenance nature makes it a popular choice for gardeners. Whether planted in clusters or used in cut flower arrangements, Autumn Squill is sure to add a touch of elegance and beauty to any setting.

In addition to its aesthetic value, Autumn Squill has a rich cultural history. It has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and respiratory infections. The bulbs and leaves of the plant contain several active compounds, including saponins and alkaloids, which may have medicinal properties.

Autumn Squill is also an important plant in the folklore and mythology of the Mediterranean region. In ancient Greece, it was associated with the goddess Persephone, who was said to have been carried away to the underworld while gathering Autumn Squill flowers. In traditional Maltese culture, the bulbs of the plant were believed to have protective powers, and were often placed in homes and churches to ward off evil spirits.

Despite its many positive qualities, Autumn Squill is not without its challenges. It is an invasive species in some parts of the world, including parts of Australia and New Zealand. When introduced to new areas, it can quickly spread and crowd out native plants, disrupting local ecosystems. Gardeners and homeowners should take care to only plant Autumn Squill in areas where it is not considered invasive.

Autumn Squill is a beautiful and hardy plant that has a rich cultural history and many positive qualities. Whether planted in gardens or used in traditional medicine, this plant is sure to be a valuable addition to any setting. As with any plant, it is important to use caution and care when introducing Autumn Squill to new areas, to ensure that it does not become an invasive species.

Autumn Squill is also a popular plant for naturalizing, which means growing it in a way that allows it to spread and thrive in natural areas. This can help to restore habitats and provide food and shelter for native wildlife, such as bees and butterflies. When planting Autumn Squill in natural areas, it is important to choose a site that is appropriate for the plant's growing conditions, and to avoid areas where it may become invasive.

One of the benefits of Autumn Squill is that it is an early-blooming plant, which means it can provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators when other flowers are scarce. This is especially important in the fall, when many other flowering plants have finished blooming. By planting Autumn Squill in gardens and natural areas, you can help support the health of local pollinator populations.

Finally, Autumn Squill is a plant that is easy to care for and maintain. It does not require a lot of water or fertilizer, and can tolerate a range of soil conditions. This makes it an ideal choice for gardeners who are looking for low-maintenance plants that can provide a burst of color in the fall.

In conclusion, Autumn Squill is a beautiful and versatile plant that has many positive qualities. Whether you are planting it in a garden or naturalizing it in a wild area, this plant is sure to add a touch of elegance and beauty to any setting. With its hardy nature, rich cultural history, and important role in supporting local ecosystems, Autumn Squill is a plant that is definitely worth considering for your next planting project.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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