Leopoldia comosa (syn. Muscari comosum) is a perennial bulbous plant. Usually called the tassel hyacinth or tassel grape hyacinth, it is one of a number of species and genera also known as grape hyacinths. It is found in rocky ground and cultivated areas, such as cornfields and vineyards, in south-east Europe to Turkey and Iran, but has naturalized elsewhere. In southern Italy, Portugal and Greece, its bulb is a culinary delicacy.
Described by Oleg Polunin as "a striking plant", it has a tuft of bright blue to violet-blue sterile flowers above brownish-green fertile flowers, which open from dark blue buds, reminiscent of a menorah candelabrum. This tuft gives rise to the name "tassel hyacinth". The flower stem is 20–60 cm tall; individual flowers are borne on long stalks, purple in the case of the sterile upper flowers. Mature fertile flowers are 5–10 mm long with stalks of this length or more and are bell-shaped, opening at the mouth, where there are paler lobes. The linear leaves are 5–15 mm wide, with a central channel.
Leopoldia comosa naturalizes easily and may become invasive. It has spread northwards from its original distribution, for example appearing in the British Isles in the 16th century.
The edible bulb is eaten in some Mediterranean countries. In Apulia and Basilicata, it is cultivated and known as lampagioni or lampascioni. In Greek it is called βολβοί, βροβιούς volví, vrovioús. In Greece and especially on Crete, it is considered a delicacy and collected in the wild. The cleaned bulbs are boiled several times, pickled. and then kept in olive oil.
Lampascioni sott'olio, made from bulbs of Leopoldia comosum, is a gastronomic specialty of the Italian region of Apulia
- WCSP (2011), World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2011-11-14, search for "Leopoldia comosa"
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- "Muscari comosum". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
- Polunin, Oleg (1969), Flowers of Europe : a field guide, London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-217621-9, p. 502 (under the name M. comosum)
- Mathew, Brian (1987), The Smaller Bulbs, London: B.T. Batsford, ISBN 978-0-7134-4922-8, p. 130 (under the name M. comosum)
- http://www.lampascione.it/ Lampascioni.it (in Italian) or
- Wild Flowers of the British Isles: M comosum
- Paghat's Garden: M comosum
- Paghat's garden: M comosum 'Plumosum'
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