Plant A Day – Common Grape Hyacinth

Common Grape Hyacinth Muscari botryoides

Common Grape Hyacinth
Muscari botryoides

Common Grape Hyacinth is one of several species of Muscari that are commonly planted in gardens and then escape into lawns and into the countryside.  They are pretty little plants that add a nice touch of color in the early spring, then more or less disappear in the summer.  I don’t believe we ever planted any in our gardens, but we now have a patch of them growing in the lawn next to our bench/trellis.  I avoid mowing that patch until they are long gone.

Googling for more great info to tell you, I learned that the bulbs are poisonous, and to make sure that your dog doesn’t eat them.  I’m not sure what dog would bother digging them up and eating them; my dog wouldn’t, but dogs have their own personalities and there are certainly some dogs out there that would do anything, even eat flower bulbs.

Even more Googling turned up the fact that the scientific name “muscari” comes from the Latin work musco, which means musk.  Some plants in the genus have a musky smell, hence the name.  Next spring I’ll sniff my plants to see if this is one of them.

Another “fact” is that “botryoides” comes from the Greek word that means “grape bunches”.  This all sounded very plausible until I did Google Translate and found out that Greek for “grape bunches” is “σταφυλιών”.   Back in my college fraternity days, I had to learn the Greek alphabet.  To me, this looks more like “staphylion” than “botryoides”.  I tried translating “botryoides”; and every base word derived from it that I could think of, from English to Latin to Greek and vice versa, and never did find any translation to any word, let alone to “grape”.

So, if there are any language experts out there, please help me out with this one.  I’m sure all of the readers of this blog are curious as well.



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