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a genus of perennial bulbaceous plants of the family Liliaceae (the lily family). The flower scape is up to 40 cm in height. The leaves are bright green, canaliculate, and clustered in the shape of a rosette. The flowers are bell-shaped and have a pleasant scent. They are clustered in a spicate raceme. One species, the common hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis), is well known and grows wild in the western Mediterranean. It is the ancestor of all the varieties of the genus Hyacinthus and has been under cultivation since the beginning of the 15th century. Varieties of this genus are characterized by the different coloration of their flowers, by their size, and by the form and compactness of the scape. Some varieties are double-flowered and some are single-flowered.
In the southern USSR, flowers of the genus Hyacinthus bloom on open ground in March and April; in the central part of the European USSR they bloom in May. Plants of the Hyacinthus genus grow in sunny areas in slightly sandy loam soil permeable to water and air. In preparing the soil, humus (10-15 kg per sq m) and bone meal (80 g per sq m) are added. Flowers of this genus are propagated from bulbs and, less often, from seeds. Bulbs are planted at a depth of 8 to 10 cm, in the southern USSR from October to the beginning of November and in the central part of the country in September. In the central and northern regions the plants are covered with dry leaves and straw in the winter. The cover is removed in the spring. Care of the plants involves watering, supplementary fertilization, and hoeing. After the plants have finished blossoming and their leaves have died, the bulbs are dug up, dried thoroughly in a darkened, ventilated place, cleaned of earth and old husks, and kept in a dry place at 20° to 22° C until the next planting. The plants of this genus are also grown for winter flowers.
The name is derived from the ancient Greek myth of one of Apollo’s favorites, the beautiful youth Hyacinthus. Apollo grew a beautiful flower from the body or blood of Hyacinthus, whom Zephyr, the god of the wind, had killed out of jealousy.
REFERENCESAlferov, V. A., and E. N. Zaitseva. Giatsinty, Moscow, 1963.
Kiselev, G. E. Tsvetovodstvo, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1964.