According to my records, I have noted the first emergence of Woodland Snowdrops on 16 occasions. This year’s flowering, as with Winter Aconite has been witnessed on the earliest date on record, being the 30th December. The full range of dates from 30th December right through to 20th January. Another 2011 oddity in that Woodland Snowdrops was noted flowering twice in one year.
The above picture courtesy of Finn Holding’s Flickr site.
Woodland Snowdrop – Galanthus nivalis
Known by its various vernacular names such as Candlemas Bells, Snow Piercers and Dingle-dangle to name a few, the Woodland Snowdrop is a joy to see when it first emerges. The Woodland Snowdrop’s Greek name Galanthus comes from the word “milk flower” and it is the British version is one of a genus of at least 20 members. Some members of the genus do actually bloom in summer or autumn despite the name but thankfully, that appears not to be an issue with Galanthus nivalis. The Woodland Snowdrop has leaf tips especially hardened for breaking through frozen ground. Having similar traits to Winter Aconite both can be blooming for the first time on the exact same date. However, the Woodland Snowdrop tends to bloom for longer than the Winter Aconite and is well-known as being a winter and spring survivor. I have personal records of the Woodland Snowdrop still being in bloom in early to mid April.
Its history links the flower to various places of monastic origin and it has a tendency to thrive on sites such as long since destroyed cottage ruins. There are many gardens in the United Kingdom where people can go to see vast carpets of these wondrous plants and they open up their grounds especially for this purpose.