Snowdrops

©Les Binns

Snowdrops

©Katrina Martin/2020VISION

Snowdrops

©Katrina Martin/2020VISION

Snowdrop

Scientific name: Galanthus nivalis
Perhaps the first sign that spring is just around the corner is the Snowdrop poking its way through the frosted soil of a woodland, churchyard or garden. From January, look for its famous nodding, white flowers.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 25cm

Conservation status

Listed as Near Threatened on the global IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

When to see

January to March

About

The Snowdrop is a familiar spring flower, coming into bloom in January and flowering until March. Despite its long history in the UK, however, it may not actually be native here; it is a native of damp woods and meadows on the continent, but was not recorded as growing wild in the UK until the late 18th century. Nevertheless, it has certainly become naturalised from garden escapees, and white Snowdrop 'valleys' can now be seen across the country.

How to identify

The Snowdrop displays nodding, white flowers, each carried on a single stem. The narrow, grey-green leaves appear around the base of the stem. Snowdrop plants often form clumps.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

In Yorkshire, it was customary for village maidens to gather bunches of Snowdrops and wear them as a symbol of their purity on February 2nd, which was Candlemas - the feast of the Virgin Mary.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for woodland plants.