Species At Risk

Wild Hyacinth

(Camassia scilloides)

Threatened

Wild Hyacinth
Wild Hyacinth occurrences map

Description

Wild Hyacinth is a tall perennial plant in the lily family, growing to 70 centimetres in height. It produces spectacular pale blue or white six parted star-shaped flowers with conspicuous yellow anthers. The flowers grow in loose spike-like clusters. Several linear leaves emerge from the base of the plant. Ripe seedpods of this plant split open to release many small seeds.

Action we are taking:

Range

In Canada, Wild Hyacinth is found only in southwest Ontario. Based on surveys in 1998 and 2001 it is believed to exist at only six sites scattered over a few islands in west Lake Erie, including Pelee Island, with most of these populations consisting of 2,000 to 5,000 plants.

Habitat

Wild Hyacinth grows best in light to moderate shade. In Ontario, Wild Hyacinth prefers openings in woodlands, shrubby areas and forest edges. This species requires rich soil.

Threats

The greatest threats to Wild Hyacinth are habitat destruction from recreational development, and illegal collection. Populations of the colonial nesting double crested cormorants threaten Wild Hyacinth on Middle Island because the droppings of these birds are toxic to the plants. Invasive plants, such as Garlic Mustard and Norway Maple, are also a problem.

Protection

Wild Hyacinth is protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and the federal Species at Risk Act.

What You Can Do to Help the Wild Hyacinth

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as Wild Hyacinth. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. If you find Wild Hyacinth on your property, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • Pollinators, such as bees, are in steep decline across the globe and they play a key role in the survival of many of Ontario’s rare plants. For information on how you can help scientists monitor pollinator populations in Ontario visit: www.seeds.ca/proj/poll.
  • Invasive species seriously threaten many of Ontario’s species at risk. To learn what you can do to help reduce the threat of invasive species, visit: ontario.ca/invasivespecies ; www.invadingspecies.com ; www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca ; and, www.invasivespecies.gc.ca .
  • The Carolinian forests of southern Ontario support an amazing diversity of plants and wildlife, including many species at risk. Carolinian Canada is working to help recover species at risk and their habitats. For more information, visit: www.carolinian.org/SpeciesHabitats.htm.

Did you know?

Wild Hyacinth flowers are pollinated by butterflies, bumblebees, and flies. Many populations of these insect-pollinators are declining around the world. You can help Ontario’s pollinators by planting insect-friendly plants such as milkweed, daisies and goldenrods.

Did you know?

Aboriginal people and early European settlers used the Wild Hyacinth as a food source, eating the boiled, baked, or raw underground bulbs of this plant.

Did you know?

Wild Hyacinth is grown in gardens around the world for its beautiful flowers.

Did you know?

A single Wild Hyacinth can produce over 100 flowers in a single season.


The Endangered Species Act


Contact your local ministry office


Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.