Galanthus nivalis, or what we commonly refer as snowdrop flowers, turns winter frost into a carpet of white bulbs.
Galanthus is a Greek word for milk; while nivalis can be translated as snow-like. Combining the two words, these bulbs plants are literally translated as the white flower that resembles snow.
These plants thrive during winter and mark spring’s arrival. The snowdrops can be easily found among shaded woodland areas and often appear to look like a magical ‘white blanket’.
A. How to Identify Snowdrops
Snowdrop flowers can be easily identified from their dainty little bulbs. The white bulbs dangle beautifully from the base of the stalks, creating a graceful drop-like appearance.
Once the bulbs are fully opened, there are three inner petals (also called as tepals) with greenish edges that grow overlap the loosely opened outer white petals. These ensembles create a tube-like flower.
They are fairly small in size with the grownups measured around 3 to 4 inches high.
Snowdrops impart a pleasant honey-like scent that is mostly noticed indoors rather than outdoors.
B. What are Snowdrops Facts?
Snowdrops plants might be small in size. But, they can produce exceptionally strong and resilient flowers that could survive frosts. These plants develop leaves that are hard enough to break through frozen soil.
Getting to know more about these beautiful bulbs, here are some snowdrops facts you need to know.
1. Snowdrops are not great pollinators
Snowdrops are mostly grown from vegetative division instead of seeding. The lack of numbers of pollinating insects during the extreme season has led them to develop the ability to cultivate sterile clones.
2. They are decreasing in numbers
Snowdrops are unfortunately amongst critically endangered species. This especially applies to snowdrops flowers living in its native habitats.
Over harvesting wild snowdrop bulbs for commercial purposes is blamed for being the main culprit. Some European countries, where these bulbs originally came from, like Spain, Hungary, Romania and Netherlands have banned international trading since 1990.
The destructions of the plant’s woodland habitats, as well as issues on climate change, have also affected the population of wild snowdrops.
According to the Guardian, there are at least 20 species of wild snowdrops remain in tiny population because of these issues.
- Snowdrops are poisonous
Snowdrop bulbs aren’t one of those trending edible flowers for your salad. In fact, these bulbs are poisonous for human as well as animals.
Direct contact with the plants can cause skin irritation too.
- They cure memory loss’ symptoms
As a member of the Amaryllidaceae family, snowdrops contain a substance called galantamine. This substance is especially important to produce Reminyl to help treat Alzheimer’s symptoms.
C. Snowdrops’ Literature Reference Found in Ancient Legends
There are several legends and folklore that allegedly mentioned snowdrops. These legends portray the beautiful flowers in different ways.
The graceful snowdrops flowers are often associated with Eve and her tears. Written in the legend of Garden of Eden, Eve was in despair after God banished Adam from the Garden of Eden.
Comforting Eve were Eden’s angels who showered the Earth with snowflakes. Based on this story, snowdrops are the symbol of hope and rejuvenation.
Other snowdrops flowers reference is found in the German legend. According to the legend, snowdrop was the only flower who followed God’s order to give up their bulbs color.
The snowdrops asked for a privilege to bloom first every year after the winter frost was gone. Taking the snowdrops bulbs’ color, God granted the flowers’ wish to be the first bloomer.
A Moldovan legend mentioned the creation of snowdrop flowers through an epic battle between the Lady Spring and the Winter Witch. The legend revealed that snowdrops were created after the Lady spring melted the snow beneath her; resulting on droplets of snowdrops bulbs.
D. Snowdrops Flowers Symbolism
Being native to Europe, an early symbolism related to snowdrops flowers was found during the Victorian times. Snowdrop symbolism in that era was closely associated with bad luck.
In fact, these flowers symbolized death and were believed to bring misfortune if they were carried inside the home.
In the US, people see snowdrops as a birth flower. The snowdrops ability to flourish after gray winter months inspires people to embrace the new season of sunshine.
E. White Snowdrops Flowers Meaning
Snowdrops will be eternally famous for the white bulbs they have. Such a modest color that holds symbolic value and worth, the white snowdrop flowers meaning is linked to purity, innocence, hope and rebirth.
These flowers can make a perfect encouraging gift for someone who stumbles upon rough times. The white flowers convey a strong message to stay strong and optimistic facing any challenges of life.
Another snowdrop flower meaning conveys a strong, hopeful message that even the smallest thing can survive a rough situation and even bring changes to the world.
F. Some Recommended Places to Find Them
Snowdrop planting requires specific conditions—not all places can provide support for them.
If you are interested in seeing these dainty drops of bulbs, UK can be a perfect choice to go.
There are many beautiful snowdrops valley and garden you can visit there. Some places have snowdrops bulbs that were grown wildly; while most gardens cultivate these beauties deliberately for visitors to see.
This place has a long walk surrounded by furrowing bark trees. It has gardens filled up with enchanting snowdrops bulbs that open for visit daily during springtime.
Visit Easton Walled Gardens during Snowdrop Week (open for visits every February) and be ready to be fascinated with the beautiful white bulbs.
An Elizabethan house, with lovely gardens and woodland setting, showcases a magical sweep of white snowdrops.
Painswick Rococo Garden has a close memory to the firstly propagated bulb of Galanthus ‘Atkinsii’ by John Atkins in 1870s.
5. Snowdrop Valley, Exmoor, Somerset
The valley captures the rawness of early spring wild snowdrops gardens. The place is kept quiet and peaceful by limiting the numbers of vehicles in the area.
As private cars aren’t allowed to enter the area, the Snowdrop Valley, at the Exmoor National Park, can be reached by buses.