A pink chionodoxa (Oh no it isn’t)

chionodoxa pink Chionodoxas are lovely spring bulbs. Rejoicing in the common name of glory of the snow because of their early blooms which often push through snow in their native Turkey, the white-centred, blue flowers are freely produced and the bulbs can naturalise if planted in sunny, well drained soil. The open, starry shape is fairly distinctive but what makes them unmistakable is the way the base of the six stamens ate flattened at their base to ‘almost’ form a cone in the centre of the bloom. The bulbs each produce two leaves (if of flowering size) that are erect at first but then flop and each bulb can produce more than one flower scape with half a dozen or so blooms. So far so good. Except that botanists have now decided that chionodoxas do not exist. They have dumped them in with scillas which is really annoying because chionodoxas were difficult enough to work out as it was – the different species all seem to have had each others name at one time or another. So the large (comparatively) Chionodoxa luciliae is now Scilla  luciliae. And another bigeneric hybrid – x Chionoscilla allenii (Scilla bifolia x Chionodoxa siehei) – bites the dust! I am usually completely compliant about name changes – after all what do I know – but the way that scillas and the whole former Liliaceae has been split up into a mass of different families that make no sense to me is hard to keep up with or understand. Anyway, chionodoxas and scillas are mostly blue but there are some exceptions. I like white flowers but I think I like blue flowers even more and the white versions of these bulbs, along with muscari are somehow unsatisfactory in my eyes. And there are a few pink variations. There is a pink Scilla bifolia and the newish pink muscari ‘Pink Suprise’ is not as good a pink as most commercial photos suggest (isn’t Photoshop wonderful). It is still expensive and I can tell you from (costly) experience that you would be better spending your money on blue muscari unless, like me, you just have to try things for yourself. But ‘Pink Giant’ is a nice little chionodoxa – sorry scilla – and although the flowers are that rather dull, lifeless pink of the previously mentioned, I think it is the best of the bunch and it is probably the cheapest too. It caught my eye last week when I was at Altamont garden and saw them sprinkled among other plants including this Helleborus foetidus. Somehow the dark hellebore leaves brought out the best in the pink.

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One Comment on “A pink chionodoxa (Oh no it isn’t)”

  1. thelonggardenpath
    March 28, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    What’s in a name?! How very confusing!

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