Scilla (squill) is a genus of bulb-forming perennial herbs in the Hyacinthaceae. The 90-odd species are found in woodlands, subalpine meadows, and seashores across the Old World. Their flowers are usually blue, but white, pink, and purple types are known; most flower in early spring, but a few are autumn-flowering.
Several African species previously classified in Scilla have been removed to the genus Ledebouria. The best known of these is the common houseplant still sometimes known as Scilla violacea but now properly Ledebouria socialis.
Scilla peruviana is of interest for its name; it is a native of southwest Europe, not of Peru. The name results from when Carolus Linnaeus described the species in 1753; he was given specimens imported from Spain aboard a ship named Peru, and was misled into thinking the specimens had come from that country. The rules of botanical naming do not allow a scientific name to be changed merely because it is potentially confusing.
Many species, notably S. siberica, are grown in gardens for their attractive early spring flowers.
Squill liquid extract, a preparation of powdered squill and ethanol, is used as an ingredient in cough medicines and cardiac surgery.
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