Woodland Trust

Nature's CalendarNature Detectives

Look out for dog rose flowers this month.

Snowdrop. Margaret Barton


Galanthus nivalis


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  • Snowdrop.Margaret BartonStrap-like, blue-green leaves
  • Drooping white flowers
  • Inner flower segments have a green patch towards the tip
  • Only one flower per stem

  • Anything else is a cultivated variety – please do not record    these

    Where found

    Damp woods, streamsides, meadows and shady gardens

    When to look for

    Fabulous snowdrop facts

    • Other common names include Candlemas bells (Candelmas is 2 February), Mary’s taper, snow piercer, February fairmaids and Dingle-dangle

    • One of the earliest bulbs to flower

    • Regarded by many as a wildflower, snowdrops were not recorded as growing wild in the UK until the 1770s. Most colonies are probably garden escapees though it is still thought some may be native, particularly in southwest England
    • Snowdrops are certainly native to a large part of Europe, as far north as Brittany, where they grow in damp woods and meadows

    • Most colonies in the UK reproduce by division of the bulbs and not by seed unless exceptionally mild weather encourages insect pollination

    • A snowdrop plant may be said to look like three drops of milk hanging from a stem. This accounts for the Latin name Galanthus which means "milk-white flowers"

    • The hundreds of cultivated varieties include giant, double and rare yellow kinds, some of which change hands for significant sums

    • Snowdrops are one of the white flowers regarded as unlucky to bring into the house despite acceptance by the Catholic Church as a symbol of Candlemas

    • Some people still view them as ‘death-tokens’ and the flower has been described as ‘a corpse in its shroud’ but this belief may have an anti-Catholic history