by Stephen Mifsud
   22 Jun 2024      ()
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Muscari comosum   (Tassel Grape Hyacinth)

Muscari comosum  (ASPARAGACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Asparagaceae Index Plant Family Index

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Muscari comosum(L.) Mill.
Published in Dict. ed. 8; no. 2 (1768)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Leopoldia comosa (L.) Parl.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Asparagaceae Juss. (=Liliaceae) (The Asparagus Family)
33 species from the Asparagaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Tassel Grape Hyacinth

Maltese name(s) :

Basal il-ħnieżer

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent    Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: GEOPHYTE ( bearing underground bulbs, rhizomes, stolons, etc. )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

March – May

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Muscari: Greek word for musk - a greasy secretion with a strong fragrant odour, produced in a glandular sac beneath the skin of the abdomen of the male musk deer and used in the manufacture of perfumes. Flowers of many species of this genus have this scent. (Greek origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Dry grassland and cultivated ground.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Steppe, abandoned fields, borders of cultivated or fallow fields, ocassionally in low garigue
Botanical Description: Bulb-tunics pink. Leaves 3-5(-7), 7-40 (-60) cm x 5-17(-30) mm, linear, usually shorter than scape. Scape 15-50(-80) cm, erect. Raceme 40-80 x 3-6 cm, lax, cylindrical. Pedicels of fertile flowers 4-10(-15) mm, patent, not elongating. Fertile flowers 5-9.5 mm, oblong-urceolate, pale brown; shoulders rounded, darker brown; teeth cream to pale yellowish-brown. Pedicels of sterile flowers 6-25(-40) mm, fleshy, ascending, violet. Sterile flowers 2-6(-10) mm, globose to obovoid, bright violet, shorter than fertile flowers, often numerous, in a conspicuous, usually corymbose terminal tuft. Fruiting raceme 8-40 cm, lax, cylindrical. Capsule 10-15 x 6.5-8 mm, obovoid, emarginate.
Chromosome number: 2n=18 (27)
Distributional range: Europe, northwards to N. France and N.W. Ukraine, but doubtfully native in the northern part of its range.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, Austria and Liechtenstein, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, Czeck Republic and Slovakia, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Hungary, Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Russia and former USSR, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part), Introduced in  Belgium, Britain (excl. Northern Ireland and Channel islands), Denmark, the Netherlands
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Ag Al Au Bl Bu Ca Co Cr Cy Cz Eg Ga Ge Gr He Hs Hu IJ It Ju Li LS Lu Ma Rm Sa Si Sn Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K U) [Be Br Da Ho]

Links & Further literature (1 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Updates in the Flora of the Maltese Islands (Central Mediterranean) Stephen Mifsud  (2007)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (14 images)
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-0.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-1.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-2.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-3.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-4.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-5.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-6.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-7.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-8.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-9.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-10.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-11.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-12.
   Muscari comosum   -   Image Code: MUSCO-13.

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