Squill: Biological sources,Morphological features, MCQs and Medicinal Uses

Squill: Biological sources,Morphological features, MCQs and Medicinal Uses


1. Biological sources:

• The botanical name of squill is Drimia maritima.
• The biological source of squill is dried slices of bulb urginea indica kunth.
• It is also known as urginea, scillae bulbus, scilla bulb, white squill and jangali pyaj.
• It belongs to the liliaceae family.

2. Morphological features:

• Size is upto 1-2 cm length and 5-10 mm breadth.
• The shape is curved and slices are separate or 4-8 slices joined to the axis.
• The color is yellow –white.
• Odor is slight.
• The taste is bitter and acrid.
• The overall diameter is 15 cm.
• Dried slices are translucent in appearance and flexible.
• It is a perennial plant.
• Roots are fibrous and grows from the base of a large and tunicated and nearly globular bulb.
• Bulb is 4-6 inches long.
• The outer scale of bulb is thin and papery.
• External surface is red or brown- orange in color.
• Leaves are dark green in color .
• From the middle of the leaves a round, smooth and succulent flower stem rises.
• It is upto 1-2 feet long.
• It terminates in a long and close spike of whitish flowers.
• Flowers stand on purplish peduncles.
• At the end of peduncles a narrow and twisted floral leaf or bract is present which is deciduous.
• The shape of undried bulb is pear shape.

3. Chemical constituents:

• The chief chemical constituents of squill are scillaren A and B.
• It contain scillarenase enzyme.
• The constituent which is responsible for its activity is scillaren A(crystalline).
• It contain cardiac glycosides upto 0.3%.
• 20-40% alcohol soluble extractives are present in squill.
• 40% mucilages are present in it.
• It also contain calcium oxalate.
• It contain glycoside of bufadienolides types.
• Other chemical constituents are glucoscillaren A and proscillaridin A.
• It also consist of flavonoid and mucilage.
• Volatile substances are also present in it.
• Sinistrin also present in the squill.

4. Therapeutic/Medicinal Uses:

• It is used as cardiotonic.
• It has stimulant effect.
• It also has the property of expectorant.
• As expectorant it is used to treat asthma and chronic bronchitis.
• It also has anticancer property against human epidermoid carcinoma of the masopharynx in tissue culture.
• It also has diuretic properties.
• It acts in similar manner to digitalis which slow and strengthening the pulse.

5. Adulterants:

The common adulterants of suill plant are the bulbs of different species of ledebouria.


1. What is the botanical name of squill?
(a) Cobaea scandens
(b) Colesia cristata
(c) Basella rubra
(d) Drimia maritima

2. What is the biological source of squill?
(a) Leaves
(b) Bark
(c) Flowers
(d) Dried slices of bulb

3. Match the following with respect to the chemical constituents of plants.
I. Vinca                                                      A. Cocaine
II. Opium                                                  B.vincristine
III. Coca                                                    C.protopine
IV. Squill                                                   D.scillaren A

4. Choose incorrect statement with respect to the medicinal use of plants.
i. Squill is used to treat typhoid.
ii. Opium is used to treat constipation.
iii. Nux vomica is used to get rid from hunger and fatigue.
iv. Duboisea is used in paralysis.

(a) Only i
(b) Both ii and iii
(c) Only iv
(d) Only ii

5. What is the chief chemical constituent of squill?
(a) Strychnine
(b) Ephedrine
(c) Cocaine
(d) Scillaren A

6. Squill is used to treat
(a) Asthma
(b) Emphysema
(c) Pneumonia
(d) Pleural effusion

7. Chemical constituents of squill are
(a) Sinistrin
(b) Proscillaridin A
(c) Calcium oxalate
(d) All of the above

8. Amount of cardiac glycoside squill plant contain is
(a) 0.5%
(b) 0.3%
(c) 0.2%
(d) 0.7%

9. Squill belongs to which plant family?
(a) Rubiaceae
(b) Liliaceae
(c) Loganiaceae
(d) Apocynaceae

10. Amount of alcohol soluble extractives present in squill is
(a) 30-40%
(b) 20-40%
(c) 50%
(d) 60-70 %


1. (d)
2. (d)
3. (c)
4. (a)
5. (d)
6. (a)
7. (d)
8. (b)
9. (b)
10. (b)


Evans W. C, Editors. Trease and Evans Pharmacognosy. New York, Saunders Elsevier, 2009, p. 330-1,493.

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