Acis (plant)

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Lautumnale 01.jpg
Flower of Acis autumnalis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Genus: Acis

see text

Acis is a genus of perennial, herbaceous and bulbous plants in the Amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Amaryllidoideae[1]). The genus consists of nine species distributed in Europe and Northern Africa.


Acis was first differentiated from the genus Leucojum by Richard Anthony Salisbury in The Paradisus Londinensis in 1807.[2] In an earlier part of this work, he had used the name Leucojum autumnale for the plant illustrated in plate 21, but when discussing Leucojum pulchellum, illustrated in plate 74, Salisbury noted the differences between the two species and considered them sufficient to put Leucojum autumnale into a new genus, Acis.[3] (However, he did not actually use the name Acis autumnalis, which was published in 1829 by Robert Sweet.[4]) Salisbury did not explain the origin of the name Acis beyond describing it as a "poetic title".[3] It may refer to the myth of Acis and Galatea.

Later botanists did not accept the distinction between Leucojum and Acis. The genus was reinstated in 2004, after it was determined on morphological and molecular grounds that the two genera were distinct.[5]

Cladogram of snowflakes and snowdrops


As of November 2014, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families accepts nine species, most formerly placed in Leucojum:[6]


The species Acis autumnalis has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[7]


  1. ^ Stevens, P.F. (2001 onwards), "Asparagales: Amaryllidoideae", Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, retrieved 2014-02-25
  2. ^ "IPNI Plant Name Query Results for Acis", The International Plant Names Index, retrieved 2014-11-12 
  3. ^ a b Salisbury, R.A. & Hooker, W. (1805–1808), The Paradisus Londonensis : or Coloured Figures of Plants Cultivated in the Vicinity of the Metropolis, London: W. Hooker (printer D.N. Shury), t. 74, doi:10.5962/bhl.title.53520, OCLC 1864969 
  4. ^ "IPNI Plant Name Query Results for Acis autumnalis", The International Plant Names Index, retrieved 2014-11-12 
  5. ^ Lledó, Ma D.; Davis, A.P.; Crespo, M.B.; Chase, M.W. & Fay, M.F. (2004), "Phylogenetic analysis of Leucojum and Galanthus (Amaryllidaceae) based on plastid matK and nuclear ribosomal spacer (ITS) DNA sequences and morphology", Plant Systematics and Evolution, 246 (3-4): 223–243, doi:10.1007/s00606-004-0152-0 
  6. ^ "Search for Acis", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2014-11-12 
  7. ^ "Acis autumnalis", RHS Plant Selector, retrieved 2014-11-12 

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