Galanthus nivalis snowdrop bulb
The snowdrop bulb is a native from central and southern Europe. Many purists wouldn’t refer to Galanthus nivalis as being Scottish wildflowers but rather garden escapees. They have been recorded here in the UK since the sixteenth century and they grow wild all over Perthshire. Consequently they are suitable for growing in anyone’s garden. In fact they don’t mind heavy damp soil. Eventually they will colonize spots in the garden as they are good naturalizing plants especially if you’ve got humus rich soil and plenty of leaf mould.
Nature’s Natural Ice Breaker and Antifreeze
Nectar Guides – Ultra Violet Markings
Grows in Adverse Conditions
|Galanthus nivalis snowdrop bulbs growing through the river silt at sunset|
Sometimes when you see snowdrops they’ll have their petals tightly closed while at other times they are open. Once the temperature reaches 10°C the outer petals start to open wide. Then they release their soft honey scent to attract bumblebees. The snowdrop was created to do this as God knew that the bumblebees would never be able to fly in temperatures less than 10°C. So He enabled the snowdrop to have it’s valuable winter nectar larder safe and secure for when the little bees needed it most. This means that the snowdrop flowering season is the longest when there are cold frosty days. As a result the bees won’t be out pollinating the plants and it takes longer for the plants to sets seed.
The longest flowering snowdrops are the doubles like Galanthus nivalis Floro pleno. However their flowers are sterile and don’t produce seed.
|snowdrops growing through the silt with their petals firmly closed|
Did you know that the US military Police who were stationed in the UK during WW2 were called snowdrops? …all because they wore a white cap with a green uniform!
Galanthamine and Alzheimer’s Disease
Finally did you know that the snowdrop also contains a particular alkaloid called Galanthamine. To you and me that name wouldn’t mean anything. But to scientists it opens up a whole new world of research. In fact this alkaloid works on the brain and helps with memory. Furthermore about 60 years ago one pharmacologist noticed how Bulgarian peasant farmers rubbed the bulbs on their heads to get rid of pain and other ailments. I’m not suggesting that anyone starts to do this. Over the years more and more work has been done scientifically on these bulbs. Indeed the chemicals found inside the bulbs could be a potential treatment for the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral malaria.
Like so many of our other plants not only are they good to look at; they also help sustain the early pollinators. They also have medicinal benefits too. Which many of us and our families no doubt will benefit from in years to come.