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squill

squill, common name for two genera of Old World bulbous plants of the family Liliaceae (lily family). The horticulturists' squill is any plant of the genus Scilla, mostly spring-blooming low herbs with commonly deep blue but also white, rose, or purplish flowers borne along a leafless stem; the leaves are usually narrow. Species of Scilla are naturalized and used in rock gardens and borders; of these, the Siberian squill (S. sibirica) has long been a rock-garden favorite. The wood, or wild, hyacinth, called also bluebell or harebell (S. nonscripta), is the common squill. The pharmacists' squill, or sea onion (Urginea maritima), produces whitish or rose flowers in the autumn before it produces leaves. Its bulbs, collected chiefly from the Mediterranean region, are sold as white or red squill—the white is a drug used as a diuretic, stimulant, and expectorant; the red is used mostly as a rat poison. Squill is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.

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squill

squill (root of) the sea-onion. XIV. — L. squilla, var. of scilla — Gr. skílla
.

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squill

squillbill, Brazil, brill, Camille, chill, cookchill, dill, distil (US distill), downhill, drill, Edgehill, Estoril, fill, freewill, frill, fulfil (US fulfill), Gill, goodwill, grill, grille, hill, ill, instil, kill, krill, mil, mill, nil, Phil, pill, quadrille, quill, rill, Seville, shill, shrill, sill, skill, spadille, spill, squill, still, stock-still, swill, thill, thrill, till, trill, twill, until, uphill, will •hwyl • bank bill • handbill • waxbill •playbill, waybill •cranesbill • sibyl • crossbill • sawbill •hornbill • storksbill • shoebill •spoonbill • duckbill • razorbill •gerbil • wind chill • Churchill • idyll •daffodil • back-fill • landfill • monofil •fibrefill (US fiberfill) • chlorophyll •bluegill

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Squill

SQUILL

SQUILL (Heb. חָצָב, ḥaẓav (mish.) or חֲצוּב, ḥaẓuv), the Urginea maritima, a plant with a very large bulb that grows wild in almost every district of Israel. It lies dormant in the summer, its leaves withering, but later a stalk with a large inflorescence bearing hundreds of flowers bursts out of the bulb. The roots are very long and descend vertically into the earth as if digging into it, and some connect its name (ḥaẓav; "to dig") with this characteristic. Because of this the squill was sometimes used for demarcating fields (cf. bb 55a). According to tradition Joshua marked out with it the boundaries of Israel and of the tribes (tj, Pe'ah 2:1, 16d). It was said that "the squill cripples the wicked" (Beẓah 25b), because it prevents them from removing the boundaries. The rind of its bulb is juicy and was used by some for implanting fig shoots (Kil. 1:8; so too Theophrastus, Historia Plantarum, 2:5, 5). Its leaves and bulb contain poisonous matter and few animals eat it. According to the baraita (Shab. 128a) it was eaten by gazelles and Noah prepared "squills for the gazelles" (Gen. R. 31:14) in the ark.

bibliography:

Loew, Flora, 2 (1924), 188–94; E. and H. Ha-Reubeni, He-Ḥaẓav (1938); J. Feliks, Kilei Zera'im ve-Harkavah (1967), 161–2; H.L. Ginsberg, Kohelet (1961), 131–2; idem, Five Megilloth and Jonah (1969), 77. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 68.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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