Pronounciation: Ur-GIN-e-a mar-IT-i-ma
Character: Evergreen, short, clumping, very clean.
Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial growing to 3 inches in height with equal spread, basally clumping from bulbs that rest at ground level. The bulbs split dichotomously from the apex rather than forming basal offsets. Over time each plant will grow massive clumps of up to 20 bulbs per plant.
Foliage/texture: Elongated and succulent, sword like green leaves, glaborous (smooth and shiney), up to 2 inches in length, leaves turn a dull bluish-green when drought steessed; coarse texture.
Flowers & fruits: Beautiful stalks of white flowers sometimes tinged with purple-red striations on the sepals.
Seasonal color: Flowers durng the late summer or late autumn; however, this jewel of a plant rarely flowers in Phoenix (bummer!).
Temperature: Suprisingly tolerant of desert heat.
Light: Shade to mostly full sun. Avoid strong western exposures.
Watering: Regular supplemental water is required.
Pruning: None required
Propagation: Division of clumps
Disease and pests: NoneAdditional comments: Red squill is a tough plant. It preforms amazingly well under almost full sun conditions in Phoenix. Red squill is long known to have medicinal properties. One wouldn't expect that to be true given its relatively large green leaves and short stature. Ancient Egyptians called red squill "Ein Sit" for the god who resists the sun, since it only blooms in autumn. According to tradition, Urginea maritima is planted in the vicinity of Arab graves, to protect them.
Red squill has been subjected to severe uprooting and collection of the bulb's fleshy scales by pharmaceutical companies in its native range. The bulb scales are odourless or with a slight odour, and have a mucilagenous, bitter acrid and disagreable taste. The red bulb (variety rubra) contains the rat poison "scilliroside", whilst the white bulb (normal bulb color) is used as a cardiotonic. The most important medical property of the red squill is its ability to stimulate heart activity.