Snowdrop (Galanthus krasnovii)

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Galanthus krasnovii population
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Snowdrop fact file

Snowdrop description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderLiliales
FamilyAmaryllidaceae
GenusGalanthus (1)

Galanthus krasnovii is an extremely rare species of snowdrop. Like all members of the genus it is a perennial plant that survives the dry season as a bulb underground. The bulbs of G. krasnovii are distinctly elongated (almost club-shaped) (2), and are covered with a thin papery layer (5). At the beginning of the growing season, a shoot emerges from the bulb and breaks through the soil into the open air. Each bulb has two green leaves, with one leaf encircling the other. The leaves of this species are particularly broad, forming impressive luxuriant plants (2). In the middle of the leaves is a single inflorescence (flower stalk), known as the scape(5). The scape bears a single erect bud, which becomes a pendent, white bell-like flower at maturity (5). The position of the flower protects it from damage by rain and wind, and the inner petals form a loose tube, upon which bees alight during pollination (5).

Size
Scape height: 7 - 22 cm (2)
Leaf length: 10 - 26 cm (2)
Leaf width: 2.2 - 4.3 cm (2)
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Snowdrop biology

Flowers of this species last for around a month depending upon conditions. They are normally pollinated by bees, and the subsequent seeds are often dispersed by ants (5).

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Snowdrop range

Found around the eastern edge of the Black Sea, in northeastern Turkey and western Georgia (3).

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Snowdrop habitat

Inhabits woodlands where there is a high seasonal rainfall, usually at altitudes above 100 metres (5).

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Snowdrop status

Not formerly assessed, but believed to be Endangered (3). Listed on Appendix II of CITES (4).

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Snowdrop threats

Galanthus krasnovii is threatened by habitat destruction and by illegal collection for the bulb trade (3). Galanthus spp. are the most heavily-traded, wild-collected bulb genus in the world (5), and G. krasnovii in Georgia are often mistakenly collected as G. woronowii, a species collected in large numbers for the bulb trade (3). In Turkey, urbanisation together with illegal collection is seriously threatening the last remaining site of this snowdrop (3).

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Snowdrop conservation

All Galanthus species are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (4), which restricts their exportation, but illegal collection is rife (3). G. krasnovii is not well known in cultivation and further experimentation is required if this species is to persist in the future (3).

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Find out more

For more on Galanthus species see:
Davis, A.P. (1999) The Genus Galanthus. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Timber Press, Oregon.

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Authentication

Authenticated (25/3/03) by Dr Aaron Davis, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk

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Glossary

Genus
A category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
Inflorescence
The reproductive shoot of the plant, which bears flowers (See http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/ksheets/pdfs/flower.pdf for a fact sheet on flower structure)
Perennial
Plants that live for at least three seasons; after an initial period they produce flowers once a year.
Scape
In plants, a leafless flower stalk
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References

  1. UNEP-WCMC database (February, 2003) www.unep-wcmc.org
  2. Davis, A.P. (2001) The Genus Galanthus – Snowdrops in the Wild, pp. 9-63. In: Bishop, M., Davis, A.P. & Grimshaw, J. Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus. Griffin Press, Maidenhead.
  3. Davis, A.P. (September, 2002) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Pers. comm.
  4. CITES (February, 2003) www.cites.org
  5. Davis, A.P. (1999) The Genus Galanthus. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Timber Press, Oregon.
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Image credit

Galanthus krasnovii population  
Galanthus krasnovii population

© Aaron Davis / Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 3AB
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 332 5000
Fax: +44 (0) 208 332 5197
info@kew.org
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk

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