Monday, March 9, 2015

Grape Hyacinths

Muscari blooms in the beds at White Rock Pier. Hardy and blue, these mid-spring flowers grow and spread easily from bulbs. They can thrive under shrubs, as they are doing here, tucked in beneath a huge clump of euphorbia.

These little flowers resemble hyacinths, but are about the size of small grapes. Hence the name.

The word hyacinth comes from the Greek hyakinthos, but it pre-dates Hellenic times. Jacinth, a variant, is an old name for a precious stone, likely zircon, possibly sapphire. This gem was believed to protect against the evil eye.

According to the Greek myth, the hyacinth sprang from the blood of the youthful Spartan Prince Hyakinthos, after he was struck in the head and killed by a thrown discus.

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