Feasibility study on Squill Production in North Wales

Feasibility study on Squill Production in North Wales

White squill (Drima maritima) is a perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. The bulbous portion of the base contains several steroid glycosides (Bufadienolides) which are key compounds in many anti-cough syrups. In recent years, the plant has been subject to severe uprooting and collection in its native country of origin, for pharmaceutical companies, and the demand for bufadienolide is increasing.

Recent small scale research has shown that this specific variety of squill can be grown in Gwynedd and has been proven to contain twice the active constituents than the varieties produced overseas. Five farmers took part in this 18 month project and investigated the potential to grow squill at various locations across north Wales. The aim was to understand the optimum growing conditions as well as harvesting and extraction techniques. 

Project outcomes;

  • Squill can grow at various locations across north Wales
  • It does contain the high value compounds that are of interest to the pharmaceutical industry
  • Existing machinery can be adapted to be able to plant and harvest it on farms
  • Availability of seed bulbs is an issue
  • More information is required on the agronomy of squill to maximise its potential in a Welsh setting

The full report can be accessed below.