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Tassel Hyacinth

Muscari comosum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asparagaceae (Asparagus)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, hedgerows, sand dunes, seaside, woodland.

Blue, 6 petals
The blue flower spike is much longer than most other species of Grape-hyacinth. The upper flowers are bright violet-blue and form a tuft since they are much longer stalked. This is why the plant is called 'Tufted Grape-hyacinth'. The lower flowers are brownish-green. Pollinated by insects.
A 3-valved capsule, or pod. Up to 1.5cm long. The seeds ripen in August.
3 to 5 linear, untoothed and channelled leaves, roughly 1cm wide.
Smells of musk.
Other Names:
Fair-haired Hyacinth, Ostrich-feather Hyacinth, Purple Tassels, Purse Tassels, Tassel Grape Hyacinth.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Muscari comosum, also known as tassel grape hyacinth, is a species of flowering plant in the Asparagaceae family. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is a popular garden plant. It produces spikes of small, bell-shaped flowers that are typically blue in color, but can also be white or pink. The flowers are arranged in a tassel-like shape at the top of the stem. It is a hardy perennial that prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. They can be planted in the fall or spring and are easy to grow. They are also deer and rabbit resistant.


Tassel hyacinth, scientifically known as Muscari comosum, is a perennial bulbous plant that belongs to the Asparagaceae family. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but it has become naturalized in various parts of the world, including North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Tassel hyacinth is an attractive ornamental plant that produces stunning flowers in early spring. Its flowers are small, bell-shaped, and grow in dense clusters on upright spikes that rise from the basal foliage. The flowers come in shades of blue, pink, and white, and they are highly fragrant, emitting a sweet, musky scent that attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies.

The plant's leaves are basal, linear, and glossy, with a dark green color that contrasts well with the flowers. They are about 8 to 10 inches long and 0.5 to 1 inch wide, forming a compact rosette around the base of the flower spikes.

Tassel hyacinth prefers a sunny or partially shaded location and well-drained soil. It can grow in various soil types, including loamy, sandy, and clayey soils. The plant is relatively drought-tolerant and can withstand moderate frosts.

Propagation of Tassel hyacinth is through the division of the bulbs or seeds. The bulbs should be planted in the fall, about 2 to 3 inches deep and 3 to 4 inches apart, while the seeds can be sown in spring or fall.

Tassel hyacinth is easy to care for, requiring minimal attention once established. Regular watering during the growing season and fertilization with a balanced fertilizer in the spring will encourage healthy growth and abundant blooms. Deadheading spent flowers will also help prolong the flowering period.

Besides being a stunning ornamental plant, Tassel hyacinth has some medicinal uses. Its bulbs contain a compound called scilliroside, which has been shown to have diuretic and cardiac glycoside properties. However, caution should be taken when handling the plant as its sap can cause skin irritation.

Tassel hyacinth is also known by several other common names, including feather hyacinth, tufted grape hyacinth, and fairy grapes. Its specific name, "comosum," is derived from the Greek word "komos," meaning "tuft" or "ornament."

The plant has some cultural significance as well. In Greek mythology, hyacinths were said to have sprung up from the blood of the youth Hyacinthus, who was accidentally killed by the god Apollo during a game of discus throwing. According to the legend, Apollo was so grief-stricken by the boy's death that he caused a beautiful flower to grow from his blood, which he named after him.

Tassel hyacinth is also a popular plant in the language of flowers, where it symbolizes sincerity and humility. It is often given as a gift to express heartfelt emotions or as a sign of respect and gratitude.

Tassel hyacinth is not known to have any serious pests or diseases, but it can be susceptible to bulb rot if the soil is too moist. To avoid this, it is recommended to plant the bulbs in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering.

Tassel hyacinth is a great plant for attracting pollinators to your garden. Its fragrant flowers are particularly attractive to bees and butterflies, making it an excellent choice for pollinator-friendly gardens. Additionally, the plant's seeds are a food source for various birds and small animals.

Tassel hyacinth is also an excellent companion plant. Its low-growing foliage and compact habit make it an ideal plant for underplanting with taller perennials or shrubs. It can also be grown in containers or window boxes, where its stunning flowers will add a splash of color to any outdoor space.

In terms of plant breeding, Tassel hyacinth is a popular parent for hybridizing with other Muscari species. This has led to the development of several new cultivars, such as Muscari 'Valerie Finnis,' which has white flowers with a blue stripe, and Muscari 'Pink Sunrise,' which has pale pink flowers.

Tassel hyacinth is also an excellent cut flower, lasting up to a week in a vase. Its sweet fragrance and delicate blooms make it a popular choice for spring bouquets and floral arrangements.

Finally, it's worth noting that Tassel hyacinth is not to be confused with the grape hyacinth, Muscari armeniacum, which is a similar but slightly larger species that produces blue-purple flowers on a dense spike. While they share some common characteristics, such as their bulbous nature and early spring blooming period, they are distinct species with unique qualities.

In conclusion, Tassel hyacinth is an enchanting plant that will bring beauty, fragrance, and wildlife to any garden. Its versatility, low maintenance requirements, and cultural significance make it an excellent choice for both novice and experienced gardeners alike.