Galanthus nivalis (NL: Gewoon sneeuwklokje / EN: Common snowdrop / DE: Kleine Schneeglöckchen, Gewöhnliches Schneeglöckchen / FR: Perce-neige, Clochette d'hiver, Galanthe des neiges) is among the first bulbs to bloom in spring and can form impressive carpets of white in areas where they are native or have been naturalised. The generic name Galanthus, from the Greek gala (milk) and anthos (flower), was given to the genus by Carl Linnaeus in 1735. He described Galanthus nivalis in his Species Plantarum published in 1753. The epithet "nivalis" means "of the snow", referring either to the snow-like flower or the plant's early flowering. Galanthus nivalis is widely grown in gardens, particularly in northern Europe, and is widely naturalised in woodlands in the regions where it is grown. It is, however, native to a large area of Europe. In Belgium the species is considered as an archaeophyte (a plant species which is non-native to a geographical region, but which was an introduced species in "ancient" times (before 1492), rather than being a modern introduction.) The populations near Antwerp are considered as the oldest in Belgium and are mentioned already in 1581 by Mathias de l'Obel. Every year I look forward to visit these populations: they announce spring to me ...
Image: Ranst (B) - 22/02/2012
© Johan Dierckx
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