Galanthus panjutinii (Panjutin’s snowdrop)
Galanthus panjutinii is an endangered snowdrop from Russia and Georgia.
About this species
An endangered snowdrop from Russia and Georgia, Galanthus panjutinii is one of 20 described species of Galanthus. It was recently recognised as a new species by Dmitriy Zubov (National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine) and Kew botanist Aaron Davis.
This snowdrop is named in honour of the climber and naturalist Platon Sergeyevich Panjutin (1889–1946) who made significant studies of the flora of Abkhazia. It flowers from March to June, depending on the elevation.
Geography & Distribution
Galanthus panjutinii is restricted to the calcareous ridges of the northern Colchis area (western Transcaucasia) in Georgia and Russia.
It has been observed in the subalpine and middle montane forest belts of calcareous ridges, along streams, in forest clearings, on limestone outcrops, and rarely in inversion dells, at 400–1,800 m above sea level.
Flower of Galanthus panjutinii (Image: Olga Bondareva)
Overview: Bulbous, herbaceous plant with broad, bright medium-green leaves and supervolute vernation (one emerging leaf is tightly clasped around the other).
Bulb: Egg-shaped to inverted club-shaped, about 3 × 2 cm, with whitish scales. Bulb partially and irregularly covered with a brown papery tunic.
Leaves: Bright medium-green, with an oil-like sheen and conspicuous midrib. Leaf blades bend backwards from the onset of flowering and are about 25 × 4 cm at maturity.
Scape (flower stalk): Usually one (sometimes two) per bulb. Bright medium-green, up to 25 cm long and 2.3 mm in diameter. Pedicel (stalk of an individual flower) light green, about 5 cm long and 1 cm in diameter. Spathe (sheathing bract) light green, about 4 × 1 cm.
Flowers: Narrowly pear-shaped in outline when closed and composed of six white perianth segments (petals and sepals that are similar in appearance). The three outer perianth segments are up to 1.3 cm long, white and slightly hooded. The three inner perianth segments are about a third of the size of the outer ones, sometimes with a small notch, sometimes with a green mark(s) at the tip.
Fruits: Capsule (at flowering) up to 1.5 × 0.9 cm, bright medium green. Mature fruits and seeds not yet observed.
Threats & Conservation
Galanthus panjutinii is considered to be Endangered according to IUCN Red List criteria. It is known from only five locations, and its area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to be 20 km2.
The ongoing construction of facilities for the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, has destroyed a large part of one location, and hence is a threat to the species.
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