February 2008 – Snowdrops
Snowdrops, or Galanthus, which means “milk flower”, to give them their correct name, are the classic winter flowering plant, loved by everyone. When we see the first snowdrops flower we know that spring can’t be far away. In warm weather the flowers release a pleasant fragrance. They are fully hardy and even have especially hardened tips to push through snow.
It is said that during the Crimean War (1853–1856) soldiers were so enchanted by snowdrops on the battlefields they brought them home to plant in their gardens.
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.
Photograph taken by Carol Strong
Related Website: BBC – Gardening – Plants – Snowdrop
Website URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plantprofile_snowdrop.shtml