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Leucojum aestivum

Leucojum aestivum (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales

Familia: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamilia: Amaryllidoideae
Tribus: Galantheae
Genus: Leucojum
Species: Leucojum aestivum

Leucojum aestivum L., Syst. nat. ed. 10, 2: 975 (1759).

Nivaria monadelphia Medik., Hist. & Commentat. Acad. Elect. Sci. Theod.-Palat. 6(Phys.): 422 (1790).
Nivaria aestivalis Moench, Suppl. Meth.: 93 (1802).
Polyanthemum aestivale (Moench) Bubani, Fl. Pyren. 4: 155 (1902).
Leucojum pulchellum Salisb., Parad. Lond. 2: t. 74 (1807).
Leucojum aestivum var. pulchellum (Salisb.) Fiori in A.Fiori & al., Fl. Italia 1: 212 (1896).
Leucojum aestivum subsp. pulchellum (Salisb.) Briq., Fl. Cors. Prodr. 1: 323 (1910).
Leucojum hernandezii Cambess., Mém. Mus. Hist. Nat. 14: 315 (1827).

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Northern America
Alabama; Albania; Arkansas; California; Connecticut; Delaware; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Masachusettes; Mississippi; Missouri; New York; North Carolina; Nova Scotia; Ohio; Oregon; South Carolina; Pennsylvania; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia
Continental: Europe
Austria; Baleares; Belgium; Bulgaria; Corse; Czechoslovakia; Denmark; France; Germany; Great Britain; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Krym; Netherlands; Romania; Sardegna; Spain; Switzerland; Turkey-in-Europe; Ukraine; Yugoslavia
Continental: Asie
Iran; North Caucasus; Transcaucasus; Turkey
Continental: Australia
New South Wales; South Australia

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition

Linnaeus, C. 1759. Systema Naturae per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, Tomus II. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiæ: impensis direct. Laurentii Salvii. i–iv+825–1384 pp DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.542: 975. Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2018. Leucojum aestivum in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2018 Jul. 30. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2018. Leucojum aestivum. Published online. Accessed: Jul. 30 2018.
The Plant List 2013. Leucojum aestivum in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published online. Accessed: 2018 Jul. 30. 2018. Leucojum aestivum. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 30 Jul. 2018.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Leucojum aestivum in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 07-Oct-06.

Vernacular names
azərbaycanca: Yay ağçiçəyi
български: обикновено блатно кокиче, Лятно блатно кокиче
čeština: bledule letní
Cymraeg: eirïaidd yr haf
Deutsch: Sommer-Knotenblume
English: Summer Snowflake, Loddon lily
español: campanilla de otoño, campanilla de primavera, campanillas de verano, leucoio de verano
فارسی: لکوجوم آئستیوم
suomi: Suvikello, kesälumipisara
français: Nivéole d'été, Niveole d'ete, Nivéole d’été
hornjoserbsce: Pózdnja snězyčka, Lěćolinka
magyar: Nyári tőzike
日本語: スノーフレーク, スズランスイセン, 鈴蘭水仙, 大待雪草, オオマツユキソウ, スズランズイセン
Nederlands: zomerklokje
polski: Śnieżyca letnia
русский: Белоцветник летний
slovenčina: bleduľa letná
српски / srpski: Дремовац, Дријемовац, Докољен
svenska: Sommarsnöklocka
Türkçe: Göl soğanı, Leucojum
українська: Білоцвіт літній

Leucojum aestivum, commonly called summer snowflake or Loddon lily (see River Loddon § Loddon lily), is a plant species widely cultivated as an ornamental. It is native to most of Europe from Spain and Ireland to Ukraine, with the exception of Scandinavia, Russia, Belarus and the Baltic countries. It is also considered native to Turkey, Iran and the Caucasus. It is naturalized in Denmark, South Australia, New South Wales, Nova Scotia and much of the eastern United States.


Leucojum aestivum is a perennial bulbous plant, generally 35–60 cm (14–24 in) tall, but some forms reach 90 cm (35 in). Its leaves, which are well developed at the time of flowering, are strap-shaped, 5–20 mm (0.2–0.8 in) wide, reaching to about the same height as the flowers. The flowering stem (scape) is hollow and has wings with translucent margins. The pendant flowers appear in late spring and are borne in umbels of usually three to five, sometimes as many as seven. The flower stalks (pedicels are of different lengths, 25–70 mm (1.0–2.8 in) long. The flowers are about 3–4 cm (1.2–1.6 in) in diameter and have six white tepals, each with a greenish mark just below the tip. The black seeds are 5–7 mm (0.2–0.3 in) long.[3][4][5]

After flowering, the fruits develop flotation chambers but remain attached to the stem. In England, it has been recorded that flooding causes the stems to break and the fruits to be carried downstream and stranded in river debris or on flood-plains. The bulbs can also be transported during heavy floods and deposited on river banks.[6]

Flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) approaching flowers

Flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) approaching flowers
Growing by water in Bulgaria

Growing by water in Bulgaria
Growing in a damp meadow in Croatia

Growing in a damp meadow in Croatia


Leucojum aestivum was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1759.[2] The Latin specific epithet aestivum means "of the summer".[7] Two subspecies have been recognized (sometimes as varieties rather than subspecies): the nominate L. aestivum subsp. aestivum and L. aestivum subsp. pulchellum.[5] The latter has also been treated as a separate species, L. pulchellum.[2] L. aestivum subsp. pulchellum is differentiated by its generally smaller dimensions.[5] It has 1–5 flowers per stem compared to the 3–8 of subsp. aestivum and is restricted to swampy areas in the western Mediterranean.[8] The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families does not recognize any infraspecific taxa.[9]

Leucojum vernum, its close relative (and the only other species in the genus Leucojum), flowers in Spring.
Distribution and habitat

Leucojum aestivum is native to most of Europe, with the exception of Scandinavia, Russia, Belarus, and the Baltic Republics, and is also native to Turkey, the Caucasus, and Iran. It is naturalized in other parts of Europe, including Denmark, in South Australia, New South Wales, Nova Scotia, and much of the eastern United States.[2][10] L. aestivum is found in damp places, such as wet meadows, swamps, and ditches.[3][5]

Leucojum aestivum is cultivated as an ornamental plant for its flowers. It requires a damp position, growing well on clay soils, where it increases rapidly.[4] The cultivar 'Gravetye Giant' is robust, growing to 90 cm (35 in) with up to eight flowers on each scape. It is named after Gravetye Manor, an Elizabethan manor house in West Sussex, England, the former home of the gardener William Robinson.[11] 'Gravetye Giant' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[12][13] Another cultivar is 'Nancy Lindsay'. Shorter and more compact than 'Gravetye Giant' at 50–60 cm (20–24 in), its flowers, 5–6 per stem, have tepals that are rounder and broader. It originated in a garden in southern France owned by Nancy Lindsay.[8]

All species of Leucojum are poisonous, as the leaves and bulbs contain the toxic alkaloids lycorine and galantamine.[10] Galantamine is used for the treatment of cognitive decline in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease and various other memory impairments.[14][15]

Lansdown, R.V. 2014 (2014). "Summer Snowflake, Leucojum aestivum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2014: e.T164488A45461549. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-1.RLTS.T164488A45461549.en. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
"Leucojum aestivum". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
Grey-Wilson, Christopher; Mathew, Brian; Blamey, Marjorie (1981). Bulbs : the bulbous plants of Europe and their allies. London: Collins. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-00-219211-8.
Mathew, Brian (1987). The Smaller Bulbs. London: B.T. Batsford. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-7134-4922-8.
Webb, D.A. (1980). "Leucojum aestivum". In Tutin, T.G.; Heywood, V.H.; Burges, N.A.; Valentine, D.H.; Walters, S.M.; Webb, D.A. (eds.). Flora Europaea, Volume 5: Alismataceae to Orchidaceae. Cambridge University Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-521-06662-4.
"Site name: Lodge Wood and Sandford Mill" (PDF). Natural England. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2017-03-08.
Hyam, R.; Pankhurst, R.J. (1995). Plants and their names : a concise dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-19-866189-4.
Boens, Wim (March 2017). "An overview of Leucojum". The Plantsman. New Series. 16 (1): 20–25.
"Search for Leucojum aestivum". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
Straley, Gerald B.; Utech, Frederick H. "Leucojum aestivum". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America (online). Retrieved 2017-12-17.
Brittain, Julia (2006). "Gravetye Manor". Plant Lover's Companion: Plants, People and Places. David & Charles. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-7153-2421-9. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
"RHS Plant Selector - Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant'". Retrieved 2 October 2020.
"AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 60. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
"Galantamine". 2017. Retrieved 2017-12-18.
Birks, J. (2006). Birks, Jacqueline S (ed.). "Cholinesterase inhibitors for Alzheimer's disease". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1): CD005593. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005593. PMID 16437532.

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