Galanthus is a small genus of perennial bulbs in the Amaryllis family. Galanthus nivalis is the best known species, but others are in cultivation, particularly by collectors.
All species of Galanthus have bulbs, linear leaves, and erect flowering stalks, destitute of leaves but bearing at the top a solitary pendulous bell-shaped flower. Galanthus nivalis grows 15 cm tall, flowering in January or February in the northern temperate zone. The white flower has six petals, the outer three segments being larger and more convex than the inner series. The six anthers open by pores or short slits. The ovary is three-celled, ripening into a three-celled capsule.
The Snowflakes, (Leucojum spp.); are similar, but much larger and flower in late spring (or early summer, depending on the species), with the petals and sepals of the same length, though it should be noted that some "poculiform" (slipper-shaped) Galanthus can have inner segments similar in length to the outer ones.
Moist bet well-drained, humus-rich soils. Grows in part shade to dense shade.
Galanthus x allenii
Used for naturalizing, lawn plantings, and under trees.
Celebrated as a sign of spring, snowdrops can form impressive carpets of white in areas where they are native or have been naturalised. These displays may attract large numbers of sightseers. Several gardens in the British Isles open specially in February for visitors to admire the flowers. Sixty gardens took part in Scotland's first Snowdrop Festival (1 Feb–11 March 2007).
Rarely needs attention. The foliage should never be "tied".
Division or seed.
Pests and diseases
Gray Mold caused by Botrytis galanthina (Sclerotinia galanthina)
- Stem and Bulb Rot caused by Ditylenchus dispaci
- Narcissus Bulb Fly: Merodon equestris
- Aaron P. Davis, "The Genus Galanthus", A Botanical Magazine Monograph. Timber Press, Portland, OR (in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) ISBN 0-88192-431-8
- Matt Bishop, Aaron Davis, John Grimshaw, "SNOWDROPS A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus", Griffin Press, January 2002 (ISBN 0-9541916-0-9)
- Gvaladze G.E. Ultrastructural study of Embryo Sac of Galanthus nivalis L. In: Fertilization and embryogenesis", Bratislava, 1983
- Gvaladze G.E., Akhalkatsi M.Sh. Ultrastructure of autumn and spring Embryo Sac of Galanthus nivalis L.- Annales Scientifiques de l'Universite de Reims Champagne-Ardenne et de l'A.R.E.R.S., 1988, Numero 23
- Homer's moly identified as Galanthus nivalis L.: physiologic antidote to stramonium poisoning. Plaitakis A, Duvoisin RC. Clin Neuropharmacol. 1983 Mar; 6(1):1-5. Abstract
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