From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Scilla natalensis 3.jpg
Merwilla plumbea
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Scilloideae
Genus: Merwilla

3, see text

Merwilla is a genus of bulbous flowering plants in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae (also treated as the family Hyacinthaceae).[2] It is distributed in southern Africa, from Zimbabwe to South Africa.[1]


Species of Merwilla grow from relatively large bulbs, the upper part of which is usually above ground. The bulbs have light yellow to gray tunics. Plants have broad leaves. The flowers are borne in a raceme. Each flower has six blue tepals, forming a star shape. The stamens have white filaments which are joined at the base and small anthers. The oblong seeds are brownish when dry, paler when fresh.[3] The seed colour distinguishes Merwilla from related genera, which have glossy black or dark brown seeds.[4]


The genus Merwilla was created by Franz Speta in 1998 for some species formerly included in Scilla.[5] The genus is placed in the tribe Hyacintheae (or the subfamily Hyacinthoideae by those who use the family Hyacinthaceae).[4]


As of April 2013, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families recognized the following species. All three were formerly placed in the genus Scilla.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Merwilla", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2013-04-08 
  2. ^ Stevens, P.F. (2001 onwards), "Asparagales: Scilloideae", Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, retrieved 2014-02-25
  3. ^ "Merwilla Speta", eMonocot, retrieved 2013-04-08 
  4. ^ a b Manning, J.C.; Goldblatt, P.; Fay, M.F. (2004). "A revised generic synopsis of Hyacintheaceae in sub-Saharan Africa, based on molecular evidence, including new combinations and the new tribe Pseudoprospereae". Edinburgh Journal of Botany. 60 (3): 533–568. doi:10.1017/S0960428603000404. 
  5. ^ a b Search for "Merwilla", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2013-04-08