Examine your Squills!

If you are fortunate enough to live the coastal fringes of the UK it might be the right time to get on your knees and examine your local Spring Squill flowers

I was recently looking at Spring Squill records on the iNaturalist site when I noticed that one of the flowers had a smut infection of the flowers. This was subsequently identified as Antherospora tractemae. Antherospora tractemae – Plant Parasites of Europe This is a relatively newly described species. Observations · iNaturalist .
I then had a look through the iSpot records for S verna and came across this record, the flower of which is unopened (distorted?) and perhaps has black spore masses (??) Orchid or Milkwort? | Observation | UK and Ireland | iSpot Nature
More info at https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiOjNWktN3-AhUUnVwKHQfwD48QFnoECAwQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Feprints.soton.ac.uk%2F425372%2F1%2Fsmut_RDL.pdf&usg=AOvVaw1n5D8moPWlPFHhOImFe3Ds
this loads as a pdf and is on p13 of the text or page 19 of the page counter
The distribution of Scilla verna is “Oceanic” see the new BSBI Atlas map at PlantAtlas
Worth a look out for? Good hunting

Just going through other obs of S verna and came across Spring Squill | Observation | UK and Ireland | iSpot Nature which looks more convincing


Yes both of those squills do look a bit smutty. Definitely the kind of thing (the smut fungus) you need to look for but once seen it is relatively easy to spot again in other plants.

I agree once your eye is in they’re probably everywhere!