Snowdrop (Galanthus krasnovii)

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderLiliales
FamilyAmaryllidaceae
GenusGalanthus (1)
SizeScape height: 7 - 22 cm (2)
Leaf length: 10 - 26 cm (2)
Leaf width: 2.2 - 4.3 cm (2)

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

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).

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

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

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).

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).

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).

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

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

  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.