|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Galanthus (Greek, milk flower). Amaryllidaceae. Snowdrop. Spring-blooming bulbs (one autumnal), with solid scapes and solitary nodding white flowers. Bulb tunieated, small: lvs. 2-3, strap-shaped: perianth without tube, outer and inner segms. unlike; stamens 6: fr. a 3-valved caps., more or less fleshy.— Probably a half-dozen species, in Eu. and W. Asia. The flowers of snowdrops (G. nivalis, Fig. 1615) are amongst the smallest and daintiest of common hardy cult, spring-blooming bulbs. They often bloom in early March, before all the snow has gone. Their pendulous white fls., with the "heart-shaped seal of green" dear to Rossetti, hold a unique place in the affections of lovers of gardens. At first sight the fls. seem to have 3 large white petals, inclosing a green-and-white tube with 6 tips, but a second glance shows that the parts that function as petals are the outer segms. of the perianth, while the 3 inner ones, with their 2-lobed tips, are not grown together, but overlap slightly, forming a rather crude but stiffish tube. Each plant has a globose coated bulb, 2-3 lvs., grows 6-9 in. high, and bears usually only 1 nodding fl., which emerges from a spathe. Behind the perianth is the globose green ovary.
In a congenial spot, moist, cool and shady, the plants increase satisfactorily, and sometimes, without any care whatever, form a bed from which thousands of flowers may be picked at what is, perhaps, the most desolate and wearisome moment of the year. The leaves are linear and channelled, and in dark, shining masses make a rich, quiet effect. They come out with the flowers, attain their full growth later, and commonly die down in midsummer or fall. The bulbs are cheap, and should be ordered in liberal quantities. Plant in the autumn, as for other hardy bulbs; set 3 to 4 inches deep in mellow soil, and close together.
An era of new interest in snowdrops began about 1875, with the introduction of the "giant" kind (G. elwesii, Fig. 1616), but those who do not care for "large violets" will be likely to cling to the small snowdrops. Nevertheless. G. elwesii is very distinct, and should be the first choice if any large kinds are desired, and to secure the best forms the connoisseur should buy imported bulbs of its varieties. The only kinds known so far to possess a patch of green at the base of the inner segments are G. elwesii and G. fosteri. Considering that there are only two main types in this genus, G. nivalis and G. elwesii, the profusion of Latin names (especially since 1888, the date of Baker's "Handbook of the Amaryllideae") is rather trying, except to the connoisseur who, unlike the general public, is chiefly interested in the larger-flowered forms and the novelties.
There are several types of minor importance. The autumn-flowering kinds, representing many Latin names, as G. octobrensis, G. corcyrensis, G. reginae- olgae, are usually weak-growing plants. However, much is hoped from G. cicilicus, especially by the florists, who have hitherto found no snowdrop that could be profitably forced for Christmas. Doubleness seems to add nothing to the beauty of snowdrops. So far it seems to have affected only the inner segments of G. nivalia and G. elwesii. Yellow snowdrops are also practically unknown in America. In these the heart-shaped spot and the ovary are yellow instead of green. Of these, G. flavescens is perhaps one of the best. CH
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- Common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, grows to around 7–15 cm tall, flowering between January and April in the northern temperate zone (January–May in the wild). Applanate vernation
- Crimean snowdrop, Galanthus plicatus, 30 cm tall, flowering January/March, white flowers, with broad leaves folded back at the edges (explicative vernation)
- Giant snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, a native of the Levant, 23 cm tall, flowering January/February, with large flowers, the three inner segments of which often have a much larger and more conspicuous green blotch (or blotches) than the more common kinds; supervolute vernation
- Galanthus reginae-olgae, from Greece and Sicily, is quite similar in appearance to G. nivalis, but flowers in autumn before the leaves appear. The leaves, which appear in the spring, have a characteristic white stripe on their upper side; applanate vernation.
- subsp. vernalis from Sicily, northern Greece and the south of former Yugoslavia, blooms at the end of the winter with developed young leaves and is thus easily confused with G. nivalis
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
G. attenii, Baker, has cone-shaped fls., pure white, but the petals "crimped into a distinctly large, horseshoe-Like patch of green just below the wavy fold of the tips." Gn. 87, p. 53.—G. alkinsii, Hort. Two plants seem to be cult, under this name, according to S. Arn., one a pure white one. the other frequently has an additional perianth-segm., also misshapen blooms. Doth are scarcely known outside of England. By some supposed to be a form of G. nivalis.—G. olgae, Orph. Outer segms. about 1 in. long; inner ones half as long, pl.mi. white, with rounded lobes. Blooms in Oct. Greece.—G. reginae-olgae, Hort.(syn. G. Olga).
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963
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