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Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Snowdrop:

Phonetic Spelling
gah-LAN-thus niv-AL-is
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Galanthus nivalis, or Snowdrop, is a bulbous perennial native to Europe and southwestern Asia. The plant has 2 or 3 strap-shaped, basal leaves and a solitary flower on a naked stem, 6-parted, white but with inner segments that have a terminal green mark. The inner petals are shorter than the outer three petals. Its flowers are a sure sign that spring is on the way as they bloom from late February to late March, even if snow is present. 

It is easily grown in well-drained organic soils in full sun to partial shade. More moisture is needed if grown in partial shade. It grows particularly well under deciduous trees that provides full sun in early spring, but more shade as the leaves fill in. It prefers cooler climates and may be short-lived when grown south of Zone 7. It naturalizes easily through self-seeding and bulb offsets which can grow into large colonies.  Plant 0-2 in. apart, 60 to 400 per sq. ft., 5 in. to base of the bulb. The plants spread rapidly and are often found in lawns, rock gardens, borders, and flower beds.

Commerce in wild specimens of G. nivalis is heavily restricted to preserve their survival; most nurseries now sell stock raised from artificial propagation of bulb offsets, scale cuttings or seed

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

There are no serious insect or disease problems; however, wear gloves when planting bulbs to avoid possible skin irritation. Leaf scorch can occur if the soil PH is excessively high.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Flore Pleno'
    features double white flowers to 1 inch long
  • 'Viride Apic'
    features white flowers with green marks on both inner and outer tepals
Tags:
#bees#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#houseplant#perennial#spring flowers#naturalizes#fantz#winter flowers#ebh#ebh-g
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Flore Pleno'
    features double white flowers to 1 inch long
  • 'Viride Apic'
    features white flowers with green marks on both inner and outer tepals
Tags:
#bees#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#houseplant#perennial#spring flowers#naturalizes#fantz#winter flowers#ebh#ebh-g
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Galanthus
    Species:
    nivalis
    Family:
    Amaryllidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe and Southwestern Asia
    Distribution:
    Native to a large area of Europe, from Spain in the west, eastwards to Ukraine. Naturalized in North Carolina and Virginia as well as several other states.
    Wildlife Value:
    Polinated by bees.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer resistant
    Edibility:
    Bulbs are toxic if eaten
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 10 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 3 in. - 0 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a more or less spherical capsule, 1/2 inch in diameter. The pale brown seeds are about 0.1 inch long.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Tepals
    Flower Description:
    An early bloomer. A solitary, pendulous, bell-shaped white flower, held on a slender pedicel. 6-parted, white but with inner segments that have a terminal green mark. One solitary, campanulate, nodding, faintly scented, pedicel short and slender. Six perianth segments. Three outer segments are white, oblong, entire, obtuse, 1.5-2 cm. Three inner segments are white with apical green mark, entire, emarginate, cuneate, elliptic, shorter than outer 3 sepals. Flower scape terminated by large, green bract.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Each bulb generally produces two to three linear, or very narrowly lanceolate, grass-like, greyish-green leaves from its base. basal, linear, usually paired, glaucous, 3.5 x .25" at flowering.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    The green scape (the leafless, flower-bearing stalk) is 2 to 7 inches long and bears a single erect flower bud, a spathe of 2 membranous bracts.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Houseplants
    Naturalized Area
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Causes low toxicity if eaten in quantity; can result in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Phenanthridine alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Leaves
    Roots