Snowdrops, or Galanthus
, are those little white flowers you often see in the early Spring, sometimes poking up from under the snow. At first glance, they're charming, but not terrifically interesting. Galanthophiles
of the world think otherwise.
after the Greek for milk and flower (gala and anthos respectively), they hail from Europe (Galanthus nivalis
, the most commonly grown species), the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. In the UK, they're quite popular. Some take it too seriously and have been known to do just about anything
cultivar they want. It probably isn't surprising considering that a single bulb of Galanthus plicatus EA Bowles
sold for £357
last year. There are many
For those interested in seeing them, every Spring gardens (UK NGS
and Walsingham Abbey
; Scottish Snowdrop Festival has 50 sites to visit
) are opened for those who wish to see different varieties.
This year in the northeast US, they're out early; and there is at least one garden
where you can see them.
For those wishing to learn more, Snowdrops
by Bishop, Davis and Grimshaw is the best known book on the subject.
In addition to their decorative purpose, Galanthus caucasicus contain galantamine
which, under the commercial name of Razadyne
is used to treat