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Leucojum vernum

Leucojum vernum

Classification System: APG IV

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

Familia: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamilia: Amaryllidoideae
Tribus: Galantheae
Genus: Leucojum
Species: Leucojum vernum
Varietates: L. v. var. carpathicum – L. v. var. vernum

Leucojum vernum L., Sp. Pl. 1: 289 (1753).

Galanthus vernus (L.) All., Fl. Pedem. 2: 155 (1785)
Nivaria verna (L.) Moench, Methodus: 279 (1794)
Erinosma verna (L.) Herb., Amaryllidaceae: 331 (1837)
see Leucojum vernum var. vernum

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Europe
Austria; Belgium; Czechoslovakia; Denmark; Finland; France; Great Britain; Hungary; Italy; Netherlands; Poland; Romania; Sweden; Switzerland; Ukraine; Yugoslavia
Continental: Northern America
Florida; Georgia
Continental: Asie

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

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 289. Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2018. Leucojum vernum 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 vernum. Published online. Accessed: Jul. 30 2018.
The Plant List 2013. Leucojum vernum in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published online. Accessed: 2018 Jul. 30. 2018. Leucojum vernum. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 30 Jul. 2018.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Leucojum vernum in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 07-Oct-06.

Vernacular names
azərbaycanca: Yaz ağçiçəyi
български: пролетно блатно кокиче
kaszëbsczi: Zymkòwô sniegòwica
čeština: bledule jarní
Cymraeg: eirïaidd y gwanwyn
dansk: Dorotealilje
Deutsch: Frühlings-Knotenblume
English: Spring Snowflake, snowbell, dewdrop, St. Agnes' flower
Esperanto: Printempa leŭkojo
español: alhelí blanco de Teofrasto, campanilla de Eguiluz, campanilla de primavera, campanilla de verano de la Virgen, campanillas blancas, campanillas de primavera, leucoio de primavera, violeta bulbosa
eesti: Kevadine märtsikelluke
euskara: Udaberri-txilintxa
suomi: Kevätkello, kevätlumipisara
français: Nivéole de printemps, Niveole de printemps
Frysk: Maarteblomke, Maitydsklokje
hornjoserbsce: Sněholinka, Blědniwka, Sněžinka, Běły zwónčk, Zažna snězyčka, Měrcowe zwónčki
magyar: Tavaszi tőzike
italiano: Campanellino,Campanelle comuni, Campanellino di primavera
Nederlands: Lenteklokje
polski: Śnieżyca wiosenna
română: Lușcă, Luşcă
русский: Белоцветник весенний, Белянка
slovenčina: bleduľa jarná
slovenščina: pomladni veliki zvonček,kronica, Pomladanski veliki zvonček, Norica, Kronca, Veliki zvonček
svenska: Snöklocka
українська: Білоцвіт весняний

Leucojum vernum, called the spring snowflake,[2] is a species of flowering plant in the family Amaryllidaceae.[1] It is native to central and southern Europe from Belgium to Ukraine. It is considered naturalized in north-western Europe, including Great Britain and parts of Scandinavia, and in the US states of Georgia and Florida. This spring flowering bulbous herbaceous perennial is cultivated as an ornamental for a sunny position.[3] The plant multiplies in favourable conditions to form clumps. Each plant bears a single white flower with greenish marks near the tip of the tepal, on a stem about 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) tall, occasionally more.

The Latin specific epithet vernum means "relating to Spring".[4] Its close relative, Leucojum aestivum, flowers in summer.


Leucojum vernum is 12–35 cm (4.7–13.8 in) tall in flower. Its leaves, which appear at the same time as the flowers and continue to elongate during flowering, are 5–25 mm wide and 10–25 cm (3.9–9.8 in) long, generally reaching to below the level of the flowers. The flowering stem (scape) has a small central cavity and two narrow wings. The pendant flowers appear in spring and are usually solitary, rarely in an umbel of two. The flowers have six white tepals, each with a greenish or yellowish mark just below the tip. Each tepal is 15–25 mm long. The whitish seeds are about 7 mm long.[2][5][6]


Leucojum vernum was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.[1][7] The epithet vernum means "of the spring".[8]

Two varieties are accepted by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families:[9]

Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum Sweet – Carpathian Mountains (Czech Republic, Romania, Ukraine)
Leucojum vernum var. vernum

A third variety is recognized by some sources, but not by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families:[10]

Leucojum vernum var. vagneri Stapf

Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum is distinguished by the presence of yellow rather than greenish markings at the tip of each tepal.[2] Sources that distinguish var. vagneri from var. vernum describe it as more vigorous and flowering earlier, with two flowers per scape. It comes true from seed as it does not cross with var. vernum.[2][11]
Distribution and habitat

Leucojum vernum is native to central Europe and parts of southern and western Europe, including Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, France, Italy, Romania, former Yugoslavia and Ukraine. It has become naturalized in other parts of Europe, including Great Britain, the Netherlands and parts of Scandinavia, and in Georgia and Florida in the United States.[1][2] It is found in damp and shady habitats, including woods, up to elevations of 1600 m.[2]

Leucojum vernum is cultivated as an ornamental plant for its white flowers in spring. It is described as "easy to grow", either in sun or partial shade, particularly in moist soil and in grass.[5] The species has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[3]

Many cultivars are available, including:[11]

'Butter-churn' (L. vernum) – large yellowish flowers, one or two per stem, sometimes two fused together
'Eva Habermeier' (L. vernum) – yellow apical marks
'Gertrude Wister' (L. v. var. carpathicum) – semi-double
'Golden Bell' (L. v. var. carpathicum) – yellow ovary and tepal markings
'Green Lantern' (L. v. var. vernum) – vigorous, tepals about one-third green with a sharp apex
'Greengotts' (L. v. var. vagneri) – second earliest to flower, large apical green markings
'Hoch die Tassen' (L. v. var. vernum) – flowers face upwards (hoch die Tassen means 'raise your glasses')
'Janus' (L. v. var. vagneri) – flowers early, in the first week of January
'Klara' (L. v. var. carpathicum) – smaller stature, open, funnel-like flowers
'Lothar' (L. vernum) – long pedicels, up to three flowers per bulb
'Milly' (L. v. var. vernum) – one to six extra long, narrow, completely green tepals; comes true from seed
'Null Punkte' (L. v. var. vernum) – markings small or absent
'Podpolozje' (L. v. var. carpathicum) – large flowers with a large apical mark, mostly two flowers per stem
'Tentacular' (L. vernum) – double, green markings


All species of Leucojum are poisonous, as the leaves and bulbs contain the toxic alkaloids lycorine and galantamine.[12] Galantamine is used for the treatment of cognitive decline in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease and various other memory impairments.[13][14]

"Leucojum vernum". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
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.
"RHS Plant Selector - Leucojum vernum". Retrieved 19 February 2020.
Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 978-1845337315.
Mathew, Brian (1987). The Smaller Bulbs. London: B.T. Batsford. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-7134-4922-8.
Webb, D.A. (1980). "Leucojum vernum". 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.
Linnaeus, Carl (1753). "Leucojum". Species Plantarum. Vol. I. p. 289. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
Hyam, R. & Pankhurst, R.J. (1995). Plants and their names : a concise dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 518. ISBN 978-0-19-866189-4.
"Search for Leucojum vernum". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
"'Leucojum vernum var. vagneri Stapf". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
Boens, Wim (March 2017). "An overview of Leucojum". The Plantsman. New Series. 16 (1): 20–25.
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.
"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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