ineffective. For pot culture, and for growth in water-glasses especially, the single-flowered sorts are greatly to be preferred. Few if any of the original kinds are now in cultivation, a succession of new and improved varieties having been raised, the demand for which is regulated in some respects by fashion.
The hyacinth delights in a rich light sandy soil. The Dutch incorporate freely witn tneir naturally light soil a compost consisting of one-third coarse sea or river sand, one-third rotten cow dung without litter and one-third leaf-mould. The soil thus renovated retains its qualities for six or seven years, but hyacinths are not planted upon the same place for two years successively, intermediary crops of narcissus, crocus or tulips being taken. A good compost for hyacinths is sandy loam, decayed leaf-mould, rotten cow dung and sharp sand in equal parts, the whole being collected and laid up in a heap and turned over occasionally. Well-drained beds made up of this soil, and refreshed with a portion of new compost annually, would grow the hyacinth to perfection. The best time to plant the bulbs is towards the end of September and during October; they should be arranged in rows, 6 to 8 in. asunder, there being four rows in each bed. Tne bulbs should be sunk about 4 to 6 in. deep, with a small quantity of clean sand placed below and around each of them. The beds should be covered with decayed tan-bark, coco-nut fibre or half-rotten dung litter. As the flower-stems appear, they are tied to rigid but slender stakes to preserve them from accident. If the bulbs are at all prized, the stems should be broken off as soon as the flowering is over, so as not to exhaust the bulbs; the leaves, however, must be allowed to grow on till matured, but as soon as they assume a yellow colour, the bulbs are taken up, the leaves cut off near their base, and the bulbs laid out in a dry, airy, shady place to ripen, after which they are cleaned of loose earth and skin, ready for storing. It is the practice in Holland, about a month after the bloom, or when the tips of the leaves assume a withered appearance, to take up the bulbs, and to lay them sideways on the ground, covering them with an inch or two of earth. About three weeks later they are again taken up and cleaned. In the store-room they should be kept dry, well-aired and apart from each other.
Few plants are better adapted than the hyacinth for pot culture as greenhouse decorative plants; and by the aid of forcing they may be had in bloom as early as Christmas. They flower fairly well in 5-in. pots, the stronger bulbs in 6-in. pots. To bloom at Christmas, they should be potted early in September, in acompost resembling that already recommended for the open-air beds; and, to keep up a succession of bloom, others should be potted at intervals of a few weeks till the middle or end of November. The tops of the bulbs should be about level with the soil, and if a little sand is put immediately around them so much the better. The pots should be set in an open place on a dry hard bed of ashes, and be covered over to a depth of 6 or 8 in. with the same material or with fibre or soil; and when the roots are well developed, which will take from six to eight weeks, they may be removed to a frame, and gradually exposed to light, and then placed in a forcing pit in a heat of from 60º to 70°. When the flowers are fairly open, they may be removed to the greenhouse or conservatory.
The hyacinth may be very successfully grown in glasses for ornament in dwelling-houses. The glasses are filled to the neck with rain or even tap water, a few lumps of charcoal being dropped into them. The bulbs are placed in the hollow provided for them, so that their base just touches the water. This may be done in September or October. They are then set in a dark cupboard for a few weeks till roots are freely produced, and then gradually exposed to light. The early-flowering single white Roman hyacinth, a small-growing pure white variety, remarkable for its fragrance, is well adapted for forcing, as it can be had in bloom if required by November. For windows it grows well in the small glasses commonl used for crocuses; and for decorative purposes should be planted about five bulbs in a 5-in. pot, or in pans holding a dozen each. If grown for cut flowers it can be planted thickly in boxes of any convenient size. It is highly esteemed during the winter months by florists.
The Spanish hyacinth (H. amethystinus) and H. azureus are charming little bulbs for growing in masses in the rock garden or front of the flower border. The older botanists included in the genus Hyacinthus species of Muscari, Scilla and other genera of bulbous Liliaceae, and the name of hyacinth is still popularly applied to several other bulbous plants. Thus Muscari botryoides is the grape hyacinth, 6 in., blue or white, the handsomest; M. moschatum, the musk hyacinth, 10 in., has peculiar livid greenish-yellow flowers and a strong musky odour; M. comosum var. monstrosum, the feather hyacinth, bears sterile flowers broken up into a featherlike mass; M. racemosum, the starch hyacinth, is a native with deep blue plum-scented flowers. The Cape hyacinth is Galtonia candicans, a magnificent border plant, 3-4 ft. high, with large drooping white bell-shaped flowers; the star hyacinth, Scilla amoena; the Peruvian hyacinth or Cuban lily, S. peruviana, a native of the Mediterranean region, to which Linnaeus gave the species name peruviana on a mistaken assumption of its origin; the wild hyacinth or blue-bell, known variously as Endymion nonscriptum, Hyacinthus nonscriptus or Scilla nutans; the wild hyacinth of western North America, Camassia esculenta. They all flourish in good garden soil of a gritty nature.
HYACINTH, or Jacinth, in mineralogy, a variety of zircon (q.v.) of yellowish red colour, used as a gem-stone. The hyacinthus of ancient writers must have been our sapphire, or blue corundum, while the hyacinth of modern mineralogists may have been the stone known as lyncurium (λυγκούριον). The Hebrew word leshem, translated figure in the Authorized Version (Ex. xxviii. 19), from the λιγύριον of the Septuagint, appears in the Revised Version as jacinth, but with a marginal alternative of amber. Both jacinth and amber may be reddish yellow, but their identification is doubtful. As our jacinth (zircon) is not known in ancient Egyptian work, Professor Flinders Petrie has suggested that the leshem may have been a yellow quartz, or perhaps agate. Some old English writers describe the jacinth as yellow, whilst others refer to it as a blue stone, and the hyacinthus of some authorities seems undoubtedly to have been our sapphire. In Rev. xx. 20 the Revised Version retains the word jacinth, but gives sapphire as an alternative.
Most of the gems known in trade as hyacinth are only garnets—generally the deep orange-brown hessonite or cinnamon-stone—and many of the antique engraved stones reputed to be hyacinth are probably garnets. The difference may be detected optically, since the garnet is singly and the hyacinth doubly refracting; moreover the specific gravity affords a simple means of diagnosis, that of garnet being only about 3.7, whilst hyacinth may have a density as high as 4.7. Again, it was shown many years ago by Sir A. H. Church that most hyacinths, when examined by the spectroscope, show a series of dark absorption bands, due perhaps to the presence of some rare element such as uranium or erbium.
Hyacinth is not a common mineral. It occurs, with other zircons, in the gem-gravels of Ceylon, and very fine stones have been found as pebbles at Mudgee in New South Wales. Crystals of zircon, with all the typical characters of hyacinth, occur at Expailly, Le Puy-en-Velay, in Central France, but they are not large enough for cutting. The stones which have been called Compostella hyacinths are simply ferruginous quartz from Santiago de Compostella in Spain. (F. W. R.*)
HYACINTHUS in Greek mythology, the youngest son of the Spartan king Amyclas, who reigned at Amyclae (so Pausanias iii. 1. 3, iii. 19. 5; and Apollodorus i. 3. 3, iii. ro. 3). Other stories make him son of Oebalus, of Eurotas, or of Pierus and the nymph Clio (see Hyginus, Fabulae, 271; Lucian, De sallalione, 45, and Dial. dear. 14). According to the general
story, which is probably late and composite, his great beauty attracted the love of Apollo, who killed him accidentally when teaching him to throw the discus (quoit); others say that Zephyrus (or Boreas) out of jealousy deflected the quoit so that it hit Hyacinthus on the head and killed him. According to the representation on the tomb at Amyclae (Pausanias, lac. eil.) Hyacinthus was translated into heaven with his virgin sister Polyboea. Out of his blood there grew the flower known as the hyacinth, the petals of which were marked with the mournful exclamation AI, AI, “ alas ” (cf. “ that Sanguine flower inscribed with woe ”). This Greek hyacinth cannot have been the flower which now bears the name: it has been identified with a species of iris and with the larkspur (delp/zinium Aiacis), which appear to have the markings described. The Greek hyacinth was also said to have sprung from the blood of Ajax. Evidently the Greek authorities confused both the flowers and the traditions. The death of Hyacinthus was celebrated at Amyclae by the second most important of Spartan festivals, the Hyacinthia, which took place in the Spartan month Hecatombeus. What month this was is not certain. Arguing from Xenophon (H ell. iv. 5) we get May; assuming that the Spartan Hecatombeus is the Attic Hecatombaion, we get July; or again it may be the Attic Scirophorion, June. At all events the Hyacinthia was an early summer festival. It lasted three days, and the rites gradually passed from mourning for Hyacinthus to rejoicings
- The word is probably derived from an Indo-European root, meaning “ youthful, " found in Latin, Greek, English and Sanskrit. Some have suggested that the first two letters are from new, to fain. (cf. Hyades).