Snowdrops are known as the harbingers of Spring. This year is seems to be a long time coming!
So here are some things you may not know about these welcome little flowers
- Snowdrop Day is celebrated on March 1st in Russia
- If a girl eats the first snowdrop she finds in the spring, she will not get tanned in the summer. From – “Encyclopedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World.” 1903
- Snowdrops are often represented as shy flowers, afraid to raise their heads because of some misdemeanour or other. The real reason for their drooping flower heads is that their dusty pollen must be kept dry and sweet in order to attract the few insects flying in winter. No mean feat in the February winds, snows and rains.
- ‘Snowdrop’ in its modern form comes from the latin ‘Galanthus nivalis’, clearly classified by Carl Linnaeus, the remarkable Swedish botanist, in his pioneering work ‘Species Plantarum’ 1753. Galanthus translates as having ‘milk-white’ flowers and Nivalis as ‘snowy’.
- These perfect little blooms are not wild British natives. It’s thought that the bulbs were first brought to Britain in the 15th century by Italian monks, who introduced the bulbs into the gardens of monasteries.
- In the United States, the snowdrop shares its symbolism with the carnation, as they are both the birth flower for the month of January.
- Medicinal: Galanthamine, an alkaloid found in the snowdrop flower, is currently approved for the treatment of Alzheimer’s in several countries. It may be effective in treating diseases of the nervous system and is being studied for its effectiveness in treating HIV.
- Snowdrop collectors or Galanthophiles can spend hundreds of pounds on some rare bulbs, and seed company Thompson and Morgan broke records in 2012 by paying £725 for a single specimen.
- When Bishop and Grimshaw published their snowdrop monograph in 2002 it included 500 varieties. In 2012 the reprint estimated they include up to 1,500 new cultivars.
- Snowdrops are a pest-free plant. Rabbits and deer won’t eat them and most mice and other rodents will leave them alone.