Sunday, 23 January 2011

Galantus nivalis L.

Name: Galantus nivalis L.
Croatian name: Visibaba
English name: Common Snowdrop
Family: Amarillydaceae

This is a well known spring herald, flowering at the end of winter. Native to Europe, snowdrop is widely naturalised elsewhere. Today, there are numerous cultivars developed for horticultural use.
It is a perennial plant, growing from a bulb. The vegetation period of the plant above the ground is short; it survives under ground as bulb waiting the new season.
Each bulb usually produces two linear leaves and a scape (flowering stalk). The scape has one bract-like spathe and bears a single flower. The flower is pendulous, bell-shaped. It consists of six tepals, the outer tree being plane white and long, and the inner short with green marks.
There are six anders and tree-celled ovary. Fruit: tree celled capsule. The seeds have small 'tail' called elaiosome containing substance attractive to ants. Clearly, ants distribute the seeds.
Protected species in Croatia.

Curiosity: Recently I found this unusual snowdrop with eight tepals (4+4)!