Nomenclature and species descriptions
I have followed the nomenclature used by The Plant List produced by Kew et al. Only species on their approved list have been included. That is not to say I share their opinion in every case, but it seems a good place to start.
L. bicolor (Boiss.) Eig and Feinbrun
(syn. M. bicolor)
4-6 narrow channelled leaves. Upper part of the flower tube purple/purple brown contrasting strongly with the yellow/white of the mouth and the dark maroon teeth. Sterile flowers vivid purple on short pedicels.
IUCN Red List. Near threatened. Israel and Palestine. Possibly Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. Loamy sands and stable dunes.
L. caucasica (Griseb.) Losinsk.
(Syn. B. caucasica, M. caucasicum, M. mutilatum, M. comosum var. mutilatum)
A lax raceme of up to 150 flowers. To 35 cms. tall. A dense tuft of short pedicelled sterile flowers. Fertile flowers brownish/yellow with yellow teeth. The best forms are rosy purple at the mouth but still with yellow teeth. Grows on stony slopes and steppes in Turkey (Inner Anatolia), north and west Iran, Iraq and the Caucasus.
L. comosa (L.) Parl.
(Syn. Hyacinthus comosus, M. comosum, M. pinardii, L. pinardii.)
Bulb 1.5-3.5cms in diameter. Few, if any offsets. Pink tunic. Leaves usually 3-5. generally shorter than scape, 7-60cms x 5-30mm. A variable plant. Scape 15-80cms. 15-100 flowers. Raceme 30-40x 3-6cms. Fertile flower pedicels horizontal,4-16mm, not elongating in fruit. Fertile flowers oblong-urceolate, pale brown with darker brown shoulders. Teeth 0.5 1mm. Pedicels of sterile flowers fleshy, ascending bright violet, 6-26mm long. Sterile flowers globose to obovate, rarely tubular, bright violet, 2-6mm long. Widespread.
Plants grown under the name L. or M. pinardii are now included here. Good garden plants for a well-drained sunny spot. L. comosum f. ‘Album’ is an outstanding plant with lovely green buds.
It is grown as a field crop in Morocco and is mostly exported to Greece where it is cooked in brine or pickled and is known as volvi. They can be seen for sale in markets and greengrocers.
L. cycladica P.H.Davies and D.C.Stuart
(syn. M. cycladicum )
L. eburnea Eig and Feinbrun
(syn. M. eburneum)
A plant of hot sands and deserts. Has a single glaucous, channelled leaf, 25-30cms. Long. Fertile flowers tubular, creamy white with dark brown teeth. The sterile flowers are deep purple/black. Found in S. Israel, coastal Palestine and Egypt.
L. ghouschtchiensis Jaffari and Maasouni
Bulbs 2ms xc1.5 oblong ovoid. Tinic brownish. Leaves usually 4. 24 x1.6 cm. Weakly canaliculate. Scape 27.5 cms. Raceme 11.5×1.2cms. Lax and cylindrical. Pedicels of fertile flowers 0.5mm and ascending and of fertile flowers 1mm. And horizontal. 55 fertile flowers horizontal, campanulate to tubular green/brown/yellow with recurved black apical lobes. Sterile flowers 20-25 ascending,campanulate and bright violet, found in Iran and Kurdistan.
L. gussonei Parl.
(syn. Bellevalia cupaniana, Botryanthus gussonei, L. cupaniana, M. aestivale, M. cupanianum, M. gussonei )
L. lijtijensis Jafari
L. longipes (Boiss.) Losinsk
(Syn. M.longipes, M. albicaule L.deserticola, M.aaronsohnii.)
A tall robust plant 20-45cms. Tall. Leaves 7-10, channelled and coiling. The purple sterile flowers rarely open properly. Fertile flowers yellow/brown with purple teeth. Flowers pendulous becoming horizontal in fruit. Syria, Jordan and S. Israel.
L. maritima (Desf.) Heldr.
(syn. M. maritimum, Hyacinthus maritimus, Eitheranthus maritimus, Bellevalia maritima, B. fontanesii)
Has a largely N. African distribution. Often frequent in sandy soils of N. Tunisia.
L. matritensis RuizRejon et al
L. newmanii Bohnert and Lobin
L. spritzenhoferi (Heldr. Ex Osterm) H.R.Wehrh
(Syn. M. spritzenhoferi, M. amoenacoma, L. amoenacoma)
L. tabriziana Jafari
L.tenuiflora (Tausch) Heldr.
L. tenuiflora (Tausch) Heldr.
(Syn. M tenuiflorum, M. tubiflorum, M. buschiricum, M. iranicum, Bellevalia tenuiflorum.)
Bulb ovoid 2-4cms in diameter. Pale greyish tunics. Leaves 3-7, c. 15-30 cms. Scape 20-60cms, longer than the leaves. Raceme strongly cylindrical. Fertile flower pedicels horizontal (0.5-)2-7(-20) mm long. Fertile flowers obconical to urceolate. Pale brown to ivory. Lobes blackish, 0.5mm, recurved. Sterile flower pedicels bright violet and fleshy. Sterile flowers bright violet, obovate to narrowly tubular.
Widely distributed through central Europe through to Turkey, Iran and Iraq and on to Saudi Arabia. Present in Germany and Italy.
Very easy in a bulb frame or cold greenhouse but lost in hard winters in our Norfolk Garden. Our seed grown plants came from Bulgaria. German Stock may be tougher.
Very good drawing in Flora of Iraq volume 8 (Townsend and Guest 1985)
L. weissii Freyn
(syn. Bellevalia maritima, B. therea, B. weisii, L. dionysica, L. therea, M. dionysicum, M. thereum, M. weisii.)
Generally smaller than L. comosa, up to 30cms., with gappy inflorescences. Fertile flowers brown with yellow teeth. Sterile flowers blue to purple. Pedicels horizontal and all a similar length.
Rocky slopes. Turkey (S. Anatolia) and Greek islands including Rhodes.