Leucojum (Snowflakes)

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Leucojum, derived from the classical Greek word Leukoion, meaning ‘white violet’, is the genus of plants called snowflakes, a relative of Galanthus (snowdrops). Snowflakes have tepals which are all the same length, pointed at their tips and the flowers resemble bells. Snowdrops, however, have oval shaped tepals of varying lengths (typically large outer and small inner). Notice that the shape of Leucojum is much greater than that of Galanthus. With long and thin reaching green leaves, Leucojum is bushy and tall compared to the shape of the much smaller Galanthus, which forms in clumps.

This species name aestivum is Latin for ‘of summer’, which is confusing given it flowers now. The other species featured in the Garden is Leucojum vernum, meaning ‘of spring’. Can you find it?

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Heralding Spring Trail Map