Muscari comosum 'Plumosum'
Common Name: tassell hyacinth
Type: Bulb
Family: Asparagaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Violet-blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Plant bulbs about 3” deep and 3” apart in fall. Flowers emerge in early spring. Keep ground moist during the spring growing season, but reduce watering after foliage begins to die back. Plants of this species go dormant in summer, and they generally prefer hot dry soils when dormant. Although winter hardy to USDA Zone 6, plants will usually survive USDA Zone 5 winters if given a good winter mulch. Plant foliage is intolerant of spring frosts where temperatures dip to 24 degrees F. or lower.

'Plumosum' is reportedly sterile.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Muscari comosum, commonly called tassel hyacinth, is native to the Mediterranean region (southern Europe, Asia Minor and northern Africa). Species plants grow to 8-12" tall and produce large conical racemes in early spring of urn-shaped, grape-like, drooping, olive brown/yellow fertile flowers that are topped by unusual tassel-like plumes of rounded, violet-purple, sterile flowers.

Genus name comes from the Turkish name recorded by Clusius in 1583. Possibly from the Latin word muscus in reference to flower aroma.

Specific epithet means with a tuft, a tuft of sterile flowers in this case.

'Plumosum' (often called feather hyacinth) features only feathery, tassel-like flowers (none are urn-shaped) with thread-like tepals. Flowers are violet-blue, and are tightly packed into conical racemes on upright stubby spikes to 8-10" tall. Flowers bloom in April in the St. Louis area. Flowers are different from other muscaris because the feathery flower plumes in no way resemble drooping clusters of grapes. Flower scapes rise up from somewhat floppy clumps of medium green linear leaves (to 6" long). Flowers are not fragrant.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Spring frosts may damage plants.

Garden Uses

Provides spectacular drifts of color when massed in open areas, around shrubs, under deciduous trees, in the rock garden or in the border front open woodland areas. Also mixes well with other early blooming bulbs. Popular container plant. Good cut flower for small bouquets. Forces easily for winter bloom.