What if you walked the same path for years then one morning a flash of white catches your eye. You see something in the distance you’ve never noticed before among the twiggy bare stems of the brambles. You go and investigate a little further. Push away the thorny branches and there much to your delight you find a flower. In fact a flower you have never seen before. Standing tall with its blooms nodding in the breeze ...and its not a snowdrop! You've found Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum – Spring Snowflakes!
This happened to me last week as I was walking along Perth Town lade. How I missed these little beauties during previous Springs is beyond me. But until this encounter I had only seen a few pictures of them on the internet.
They are much taller than common snowdrops. They have large bell type flowers and dark green narrow lanced shaped leaves. The scalloped edges have 'little dabs of yellow paint' on the ends of the
petals tepals and many stems have two flowers.
A snowdrop has 3 long and 3 short tepals while a Lecojum has 6 tepals all the same size.
They like being in the semi shade, in very moist soil. While the seed heads are inflated so that the seeds can be dispersed by water. No wonder they are growing along the banks of the lade as they have perfect growing conditions there.
They are native to Europe, Africa and the Middle East and are more suited to warmer climates where snowdrops struggle.
The name Leucojum comes from the Greek leukos meaning white and ion meaning violet, which refers to its very delicate fragrance. While Vernum means of the spring.