Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial wildflower consists of a low rosette of basal leaves up to 1½' across and a flowering stalk about 1½–2' tall. The floppy basal leaves are 6-12" long and 1/3" across; they are medium to dark green, linear in shape, parallel-veined, glabrous, and smooth along their margins. Along the underside of each basal leaf, there is a prominent mid-rib. The erect central stalk is slender, light to medium green, and glabrous; it terminates in a spike-like raceme of flowers that is several inches in length. Underneath the floral spike, there are usually 1-3 bracts along the stalk. These bracts are green, linear to linear-lanceolate in shape, and up to ¾" long. Each flower is ¾–1" across, consisting of 6 tepals, 6 stamens with bright yellow anthers, and a green central ovary with a slender style. The tepals are light blue-violet to nearly white; they are oblong in shape and spread widely from the center of the flower. Each tepal (petal or petal-like sepal) has 1-3 poorly defined veins along its length. At the base of each flower, there is a single linear bract up to ¾" long that is early-deciduous. The slender pedicel of each flower is about the same length as the bract. The flowers begin to bloom from the bottom of the raceme and continue to bloom upward toward the apex; each flower lasts only 2-3 days. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about 2-3 weeks. Each fertilized flower is replaced by a 3-celled seed capsule that is about 1/3" in length and nearly as much across. Each seed capsule contains many small seeds that are black and shiny. The basal leaves turn yellow and wither away by mid-summer. The root system consists of a bulb with fibrous roots. This wildflower reproduces by reseeding itself.
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Wild Hyacinth is found occasionally throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist black soil prairies, moist savannas, moist open woodlands (particularly along the banks of streams), rocky wooded slopes, and limestone glades. This species is typically found in high quality habitats, whether prairies or woodlands. Faunal Associations
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Ont.; Ala., Ark., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Md., Mich., Miss., Mo., Ohio, Okla., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., W.Va., Wis.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Bulbs sometimes clustered, ovoid, 1–3 cm diam. Leaves 3–8, 2–6 dm × 5–20 mm. Inflorescences 19–47 cm; sterile bracts 0–3(–5), bracts subtending flowers shorter than or equaling pedicel. Flowers actinomorphic; tepals usually withering separately after anthesis, not deciduous, light blue, occasionally whitish, each 3- or 5-veined, 7–15 × 2.6–4.2 mm; anthers bright yellow, 1.3–3.2 mm; fruiting pedicel mostly spreading to spreading-erect, 5–30 mm. Capsules deciduous, pale green to light brown, subglobose, 6–10 mm. Seeds 2–5 per locule. 2n = 30.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Cyanotris scilloides Rafinesque, Amer. Monthly Mag. & Crit. Rev. 3: 356. 1818; Quamasia hyacinthina (Rafinesque) Britton; Schoenolirion texanum (Scheele) A. Gray
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Wild Hyacinth is found occasionally throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist black soil prairies, moist savannas, moist open woodlands (particularly along the banks of streams), rocky wooded slopes, and limestone glades. This species is typically found in high quality habitats, whether prairies or woodlands. Faunal Associations
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Prairies; 100--1000m.
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Wild Hyacinth in Illinois

Camassia scilloides (Wild Hyacinth)
(Short-tongued bees collect pollen or suck nectar, other insects suck nectar; most observations are from Robertson, otherwise they are from Moure & Hurd and Krombein et al. as indicated below)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus, Bombus griseocallis, Bombus impatiens, Bombus pensylvanica; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata, Ceratina dupla dupla; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia belfragei, Synhalonia speciosa fq; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada affabilis, Nomada articulata, Nomada superba superba fq; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile mendica; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Osmia lignaria lignaria, Osmia pumila

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea (MH), Agapostemon virescens sn, Augochlora purus purus (MH), Augochlorella aurata sn, Augochlorella striata sn, Augochloropsis metallica metallica (MH), Halictus confusus sn cp fq, Halictus ligatus sn cp, Halictus rubicunda sn cp, Lasioglossum forbesii sn, Lasioglossum obscurus (MH), Lasioglossum pectoralis sn fq, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum pruinosus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp fq; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena heraclei (Kr), Andrena hippotes (Kr)

Wasps
Vespidae: Polistes fuscata; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus adiabatus, Stenodynerus ammonia; Pompilidae: Anoplius illinoensis

Flies
Syrphidae: Eristalis dimidiatus, Orthonevra nitida, Orthonevra pictipennis, Paragus bicolor, Syritta pipiens; Tachinidae: Linnaemya comta; Sarcophagidae: Helicobia rapax; Calliphoridae: Cynomya cadaverina, Lucilia sericata, Phormia regina; Anthomyiidae: Delia platura; Fanniidae: Fannia manicata

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Chlosyne nycteis, Vanessa atalanta, Vanessa virginiensis; Pieridae: Colias philodice fq

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Pholisora catullus

Beetles
Coccinellidae: Hippodamia convergens

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering mid--late spring.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N2 - Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

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Threats

Comments: Somewhat threatened by land-use conversion, habitat fragmentation, and forest management practices (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002).

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun to light shade, moist conditions, and rich loamy soil. Wild Hyacinth is slow to develop, but fairly long-lived. Vegetative growth and development occurs during the cool weather of spring, when adequate moisture is essential.
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Wikipedia

Camassia scilloides

Camassia scilloides is a perennial herb also known as the Atlantic camas and Southern Wild Hyacinth. It is native to the eastern half of North America.[1] It has an inflorescence of pale blue flowers on a leafless stalk 30 - 70 centimeters long, arising from a subterranean stem and bulb that is 1.5 - 3 cm diameter.

Cultivation and uses

The bulb was used by native American Indians as a food source, raw, boiled or baked.[2]

References

  1. ^ PLANTS Profile for Camassia scilloides (Atlantic camas) [1]
  2. ^ Kelly Kindscher (1987), "Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie", pgs 72 - 75.
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Notes

Comments

Camassia scilloides flowers two to three weeks earlier than sympatric populations of C. angusta. The name Schoenolirion texanum was long misapplied to a taxon now correctly known as S. wrightii Sherman.
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