Leucojum vernum (spring snowflake)
Leucojum vernum (spring snowflake). Photo: Licensed under CC by SA 3.0
Leucojum vernum L.
spring snowflake (English); nivéole du printemps (French); campanelle comuni (Italian); Frühlings-Knotenblume, Grosses Schneeglöckchen, Märzenglöckchen (German).
Not yet assessed according to IUCN criteria.
Damp woods, thickets, hedge banks and meadows; usually in hilly areas and on calcareous soils.
All parts of the plant are poisonous, especially the bulbs.
About this species
The spring snowflake was described as Leucojum vernum by the renowned Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The scientific name means ‘spring white violet’ (Leucojum means ‘white violet’ and vernum means ‘spring’). L. vernum is a widely cultivated, hardy, frost-tolerant plant, notable as a good early nectar and pollen source for bees.
Although both snowflakes (Leucojum species) and snowdrops (Galanthus species) belong to the family Amaryllidaceae, they have clear differentiating characters. While snowflakes have six equal tepals (petals and sepals that are similar to each other), in snowdrops the three inner tepals are shorter and broader than the three outer tepals.